21 Jul 2017

Sport: NZ in box seat to reach FIFA U20 Women's World Cup

9:54 am on 21 July 2017

New Zealand are 90 minutes away from sealing qualification to next year's FIFA Under 20 Women's World Cup, while Papua New Guinea lead the chasing pack going into the penultimate round of matches at the OFC Under 19 Championships in Auckland.

The hosts have maximum points after thrashing PNG 12-0, Fiji 9-1 and New Caledonia 12-0.

That's given then a sizeable goal difference of 32 and with the other five teams all in arrears with two rounds to play, another win against Samoa this morning would effectively seal their ticket to France.

New Zealand have had plenty to celebrate so far at the OFC U19 Championship.

New Zealand have had plenty to celebrate so far at the OFC U19 Championship. Photo: OFC via Phototek

Head coach Gareth Turnbull is confident about securing another important win.

"We're expecting to get three points if we're honest," he said.

"We need more opportunities on our final acts, in our finishing and also to take a step forward in our physical game."

Despite their winless start, Samoa have only conceded four goals in three games and coach Martin Tamasese is looking forward to giving New Zealand a good run for their money.

"We're prepared for our game against New Zealand. We have a few things we need to work on but we still want to compete with them and have the least goals scored against us. We don't want them scoring more goals against us than other teams."

Papua New Guinea are three points behind the hosts in second place and fresh from emphatic wins against 7-0 and 4-1 victories against New Caledonia and Tonga.

Head coach Rachel Wadunah said they need another big result against a difficult Fijian side.

"We will not underestimate Fiji because Fiji is very good - they had a good game against New Zealand as well and they were able to score against Fiji as well," she said.

"So they are looking forward to it, they're excited but they say it won't be an easy game."

"The biggest threat is they're very fast and they're very strong on the ball and they play until the last dying whistle," said Wadunah.

"If they go down one or two (goals) they still make sure they play until the last dying whistle."

Nicollete Ageva has scored five goals for PNG.

Nicollete Ageva has scored five goals for PNG. Photo: OFC via Phototek

Fiji need both Papua New Guinea and New Zealand to lose on Friday to keep their France 2018 qualification hopes alive.

Coach Saroj Kumar said they need to convert their chances in front of goal.

"We'll try to work on our finishing. Our build up and our middle part is good but we need some finishing touches so that we can score more goals," he said.

Fiji and Samoa have been off the pace at the OFC Under 19 Championship.

Fiji and Samoa have been off the pace at the OFC Under 19 Championship. Photo: OFC via Phototek

Meanwhile New Caledonia and Tonga square off with both teams focused on finishing as high up the table as possible.

New Caledonia coach Kamali Fitialeata said fatigue and injury are also causing problems in their camp.

"Even though I think Tonga have some things to work on, I watched their game against Fiji and they tried to do some good things," he said.

"I think the game will be a bit closer to our level, however we have a couple of injuries that have me a bit worried"

Tonga coach Christian Koaneti is feeling confident about their chances in front of goal after the Francophones' were thrashed 12-0 by New Zealand in their last match, and sensed a chance to grab their first win.

"I'm feeling pretty confident. What do we have to lose, we only have two more matches to go and we've had three days to get ready for New Caledonia," he said.

"We need to improve on our possession game, particularly in attack. We managed to sneak through some counter attacking chances in our last game against Papua New Guinea but we didn't finish the job."

The overall winner of the OFC Under 19 Championship will qualify for the 2018 Under 20 World Cup in France.