28 May 2016

Sport: Oceania Nations Cup kicks off in PNG

11:57 am on 28 May 2016

The Oceania Nations Cup starts in Papua New Guinea today with New Zealand determined to improve on their third place finish last time around.

The All Whites drew with Solomon Islands in the group stage four years ago before being knocked out by New Caledonia in the semi-finals.

Chris Wood on All Whites duty

Chris Wood on All Whites duty Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Striker Chris Wood was a part of that squad, and said if they play to the best of their ability they will be fine and that will start with the first game of the tournament against Fiji.

"If we're organised, do what we're learning on the training pitch and making sure we implement that into games we'll be fine."

"We know they are probably one of the toughest oppositions we're going to face out here so it's going to be a very tough one first up but as long as we work hard we know where their areas of strength is and we're just going to make sure we do what we need to do," he said.

The All Whites will also face Vanuatu and Solomon Islands in pool play and Chris Wood said there won't be any easy games.

"They've come on leaps and bounds over the last five to six years so every game is going to be hard."

"It doesn't matter who we're playing, it's going to be a tough match. We're going to have to make sure we're on top of our game every time and that starts with training well, recovering well and, most importantly, playing well."

Home Pressures for PNG

Papua New Guinea begin their campaign tomorrow against New Caledonia.

The host nation are the lowest ranked team in the Nations Cup at 198 in the World but head coach Flemming Serrtislev said they would take it game by game and do the best they can.

"From now on we are concentrating on the first match, New Caledonia, and then we will see what the outcome will be there and take it from there."

"Of course when you are entering a big championship you're playing because you want to win it...you can expect to see a fast playing and direct playing team, trying to play forward as soon as the chance is to play forward."

In the other matches this weekend, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands clash tonight in an all-Melanesian affair while Tahiti begin their title defence tomorrow night against Samoa.

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Photo: PNG Football