New Zealand under-17 men’s team qualify for 2019 World Cup
Last updated 17:56, September 19 2018
New Zealand under-17s player Ryan Verney in action at Lawson Tama Stadium in the Solomon Islands.
New Zealand have qualified for the Under-17 Fifa World Cup with a comprehensive win over Tahiti.
With two Oceania teams making it to the showpiece event in Peru next year, New Zealand only needed to win their OFC Under-16 Championship semifinal at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara, Solomon Islands on Wednesday to qualify (it’s under-16 to ensure all players are eligible next year).
They did so with a 4-1 triumph, scoring three unanswered goals in the first 24 minutes to ensure it was a relatively comfortable afternoon.
New Zealand opened the scoring in just the second minute when Oskar van Hattum was put through on goal, rounding the Tahiti goalkeeper to finish into an empty net.
The impressive opening continued when Henry Hamilton added a second in the 13th minute when tapping home a low cross from Matt Garbett. Hamilton scored his second in the 24th minute when bundling home a shot from close range.
Tahiti pulled a goal back in the 79th minute when New Zealand goalkeeper Luca Taylor let a relatively innocuous freekick from Tekaki Sangue slip through his legs.
But New Zealand replied within three minutes when van Hattum won a penalty, which Garbett duly converted.
New Zealand will meet the Solomon Islands in Saturday’s final after they beat Fiji 3-1 in Wednesday’s other semifinal. It was the first time the Solomon Islands had qualified for a football world cup at any level.
With their main aim of qualifying now achieved, New Zealand will out for redemption in the final after being thumped 5-0 by the Solomon Islands in pool play.
New Zealand 4 (Oskar van Hattum 2′, Henry Hamilton 13′ 24′, Matt Garbett 82′ (pen)) Tahiti 1 (Tekaki Sangue 79′). HT: 3-0
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