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OCEANIA NATIONS CUP 2002

 

Preview

 

This is the fifth time this tournament has been held with previous editions in 1973, 1980, 1998 and 2000. It disappeared for 18 years between 1980 and 1998 but re-emerged to act as a qualifier for the Confederation Cup. It will be bi-annual from now on. This edition is being held in New Zealand from July 5-14 and includes the top six Oceania countries in the FIFA rankings plus two from a qualifying competition held amongst the other five teams.

 

History

 

Australia and New Zealand are the two strongest sides in Oceania. Australia have the best side but can be upset by New Zealand as shown when they sent a weaker team in 1998. The previous results in the final are:

 

YEAR

WINNER

LOSER

SCORE

1973

New Zealand

Tahiti

2-0

1980

Australia

Tahiti

4-2

1998

New Zealand

Australia

1-0

2000 Australia New Zealand 2-0

 

Tournament

 

Australia and New Zealand progressed relatively easily in their groups with Vanuatu and Tahiti also qualifying for the semi-finals. The semi-final between Tahiti and Australia almost produced a surprise result with Australia only managing to equalise in the 88th minute and then going on to score a golden goal in the 96th minute during extra time. New Zealand looked more fit and prepared than the Australian team which was just put together at the last moment. This was shown during their clash in the final where a 79th minute goal from Ryan Nelsen from a volley taken after the ball was received from a free kick. Australia could not score against New Zealand despite some good chances so New Zealand take the title at home and win the chance to compete at the 2003 Confederations Cup. A full list of results are shown below:

 

Group Stage

Group A

  5/7 Papua New Guinea 0-0 Solomon Islands

  5/7 New Zealand          4-0 Tahiti

  7/7 Solomon Islands     2-3 Tahiti

  7/7 New Zealand          9-1 Papua New Guinea

  9/7 Papua New Guinea 1-3 Tahiti

  9/7 Solomon Islands      1-6 New Zealand

Group B

  6/7 New Caledonia       1-2 Fiji

  6/7 Australia                  2-0 Vanuatu

  8/7 Fiji                          0-1 Vanuatu

  8/7 Australia                11-0 New Caledonia

10/7 Vanuatu                   1-0 New Caledonia 

10/7 Australia                  8-0 Fiji

 

Semi-Finals

12/7 Australia             2-1 Tahiti

12/7 New Zealand      3-0 Vanuatu

 

3rd-Place Play-Off

14/7 Tahiti                 1-0 Vanuatu

 

Final

14/7 Australia            0-1 New Zealand

 

Overall

 

Soccer Australia was finding it hard to finance a team for this tournament after expensive failures to qualify for the World Cup had created large debt. Eventually they agreed a deal with the Professional Footballers Association which minimised costs to the federation but this was only achieved a few weeks before the tournament began. By this time it was too late for Australian coach Frank Farina to adequately prepare a team to match the New Zealand team which was well prepared by this stage. To minimise costs overseas players had to pay their own way over to Australia and the only overseas player that ended up competing was Scott Chipperfield of FC Basel in Switzerland. The rest of the team was made up of domestic based veterans and youngsters. This team ultimately did not perform well in the tournament and so Australia have now missed out on the Confederations Cup, and the money that could have been earned by Soccer Australia by qualification.

 

Top Goalscorer

6 - Joel Porter                 - Australia

5 - Bobby Despotovski   - Australia

5 - Chris Killen                - New Zealand

5 - Jeff Campbell             - New Zealand

4 - Mark Burton              - New Zealand

3 - Ryan Nelsen               - New Zealand

3 - Ivan Vicelich               - New Zealand

3 - Damien Mori               - Australia

3 - Felix Tagawa               - Tahiti

2 - Scott Chipperfield        - Australia

2 - Paul Trimboli               - Australia

2 - Paul Urlovic                - New Zealand

 

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