As Oceania’s representative at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009, New Zealand qualified in dramatic fashion with an injury-time strike by Jack Hobson-McVeigh against Turkey in Calabar on Saturday evening to give the unbeaten Young All Whites their third straight draw (1-1) of the tournament.
Turkey progressed as Group D winners, while Burkina Faso – who won their final group match against Cost Rica in Enugu – finished second and New Zealand went through as one of the top third-place finishers.
New Zealand are now the only Oceania country outside of Australia to qualify for the second round of a FIFA event.
President Temarii says the historic achievement is a positive sign for Oceania football.
“OFC is continually striving to improve the standard of football in the region and prepare Oceania’s representatives for success on the world stage and we are now seeing those efforts paying off,” said President Temarii.
“Reaching the knock-out stages of a FIFA World Cup is a remarkable feat and I would like to congratulate New Zealand Football on behalf of the entire Oceania football family. I know the team will now be looking to go even further in the tournament and I wish them the best of luck against Nigeria in the second round later this week.”
The Young All Whites face Nigeria on Thursday evening (local time) at Abuja National Stadium where an expected crowd of over 40,000 will be cheering on the home side. The Golden Eaglets qualified top of a ‘group of death’ after defeating Honduras (1-0) and Argentina (2-1) and drawing with Germany (3-3). Other second round action will see Argentina vs. Colombia, Italy vs. USA, Switzerland vs. Germany, Turkey vs. UAE, Spain vs. Burkina Faso, Mexico vs. Korea Republic and Iran vs. Uruguay.
The highest placing by an OFC representative at the FIFA U-17 World Cup was in 1999 when Australia finished runners-up behind Brazil.
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