On the other hand, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and New Zealand are all hoping to do enough to separate them from the winners pack, leading to three critical encounters.
Vanuatu and Fiji kick things off at 3pm, and for both sides it is a must-win encounter. Both suffered defeats on day one which means they need to secure victories not only for the points, but for player morale.
Louis Dominique’s charges gave their all against New Zealand, holding the Futsal Whites scoreless in the first half with a strong defensive showing. However the high pressure, quick counter-attack style of play proved difficult to maintain across the two halves and it’s something Dominique will be looking at ahead of today’s encounter.
“We’ll need to work on the concentration and perhaps we’ll change the strategy a bit for the next game. It’s just one down and there’s still four to go so we still have a chance,” he says.
Fiji knows the importance of getting a win here today, and Intiaz Khan believes we are yet to see the best of his developing young side.
“Tactical-wise I was pleased and we did create some opportunities yesterday. But the decision-making didn’t come up. We have to work on our creativity, we have got some things to work on ahead of the next game,” Khan shares.
The second match-up is a tantalising encounter between Match Day 1 winner New Caledonia and Solomon Islands.
New Caledonia looked sharp and united as they did away with Fiji 5-1, however the Solomon Islands were equally as tidy in their opening encounter so fans can certainly expect an exciting match here.
William Bret is aware of the reputation of the Kurukuru but says his side will have to push that record aside and focus on what they have to do.
“It’s difficult to say how the match will go. Solomons is a big team and they’ve qualified for the world cup for a good number of years now,” he says.
The first-up win was pleasing for Juliano Schmeling but the Brazilian is well aware that the job is far from over.
“It will be another final for us. It will be hard,” he says.
“New Caledonia won 5-1 and with that score the boys will be confident. I saw them in 2014 and they were a pretty good team. I think it will be fun for us, and tough as well.”
Closing out the Match Day 2 action will be New Zealand and Tahiti and while New Zealand will be on a high after their 5-0 win over Vanuatu, the French Polynesians will be determined to get goals in the net and points on the board.
There is no doubt both sides will be heading out onto the court with equal levels of determination. Defensively, New Zealand are one of the stronger sides but they also proved they can find the back of the net with relative ease. For their part, Tahiti’s strength also lies in their defence and they were at times unlucky not to score against Solomon Islands. Should the same opportunities eventuate against the Futsal Whites they’ll be keen to finish them.
With experience coaching in Tahiti, Futsal Whites coach Scott Gilligan says they can’t be underestimated for a second.
“We know that they’ll be strong,” he says.
I know that Tahiti are very disciplined. I know that from coaching them in 2008 and all the work I’ve done with them and they’re very strong on the ball.”
While disappointed from their opening defeat, Tahiti will have to get their heads back in the game, a job which falls to coach Jacob Tutavae.
“Positive points are hard to find when you’ve had a loss but I would have to thank the players for their effort and say to them not to put their heads down because the tournament is not over yet, anything can happen,” he says.
“We need to stay concentrated on the goal.”
Vanuatu vs. Fiji
Tuesday 9 February 2016
Kick-off: 3pm (local)
Referee 1: Rex KAMUSU (SOL)
Referee 2: Francis RONI (SOL)
Third Official: Chris SINCLAIR (NZL)
Timekeeper: Philip MANA (SOL)
Vital Statistics: Vanuatu had 30 shots on goal, 12 of them on-target to New Zealand’s 11, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
The Players: Pakoa Rakom and Don Mansale proved the playmakers for Vanuatu, while Ben Hungai and Donald Avock were solid both on attack and defence and made significant strides to keeping the Futsal Whites at bay, especially in the first half.
Coach Quote: “Fiji are hosts and we will not underestimate them. We’ll try our best to at least win a game against them to be in a better position.”
Vanuatu: 1. Serge DANIEL (GK), 2. Terry MALAPA, 3. Don MANSALE, 4. Dudley DOMINIQUE, 5. Jacky JOHN, 6. Morsen LUIE, 7. Ben HUNGAI, 8. Pakoa RAKOM, 9. Donald AVOCK, 10. Ricky TUIGALOA, 11. Joseph HANGHANGKON, 12. Jimmy MALAP (GK), 13. George MAHIT
Coach: Louis DOMINIQUE (VAN)
Vital Statistics: Despite going down 5-1 to New Caledonia, Fiji actually enjoyed 55 per cent of possession. However from 30 shots, just eight were on target.
The Players: Altaaf Sahib showed himself to be born for the court with an inspired performance on day one. Maciu Tailau was a surprising discovery, working that court well and being close to impenetrable on defence.
Coach Quote: “Vanuatu will be nothing like New Caledonia I would imagine. They’ll be fast and better than them. From today on every games is a challenge – New Zealand, Tahiti, Solomons – so I’m just worried about injuries and player mentality now.”
Fiji: 1. Ulaiasi TAMANISAU (GK), 2. Prashant PRASAD, 3. Praveet SINGH, 4. Mira SAHIB, 5. Shelvin CHAND, 6. Shelvin CHAND, 7. Mohammed SHALMEEN, 8. Akitesh KUMAR, 9. Maciu TUILAU (GK), 10. Dhiraj KUMAR, 11. Altaaf SAHIB, 12. Anish KUMAR, 13. Kevin SINGH, 14. Suraj CHAND
Coach: Intiaz KHAN (FIJ)
New Caledonia vs. Solomon Islands
Tuesday 9 February 2016
Kick-off: 5.30pm (local)
Referee 1: Antony RILEY (NZL)
Referee 2: Amitesh BEHARI (FIJ)
Third Official: Kamedra NAIDU (FIJ)
Timekeeper: Love Lui MALENARAVE (VAN)
Vital Statistics: New Caledonia have never beaten Solomon Islands in the OFC Futsal Championship, with their 2011 encounter finishing 13-5. Their 49 shots against Fiji were the most of any team on Match Day 1.
The Players: Ludovic Boit has progressed immensely even since 2014 with a great eye for space and the talent to exploit it he can be a difficult player for opponents to manage.
Coach Quote: “We’ll let the court decide.”
New Caledonia: 1. Ronan EUZEN (GK), 2. Mainon KAOUWI, 3. Jean Michel Denis POADAE, 4. Christ Roland PEI, 5. Ivann POUROURORO, 6. Maurice HAMU, 7. Ludovic BOIT, 8. Loic CAUNES, 9. Franck GELLENONCOURT, 10. Malik PAULET, 11. Jess POUARAIROUA, 12. Marcel PABOU, 13. Jone Ridge UE, 16. Arnaud LLAMBRICH (GK)
Coach: William BRET (FRA)
Vital Statistics: Solomon Islands were the only side to pick up a caution on Match Day 1 with captain Elliot Ragomo taking that honour. Most of the Kurukuru’s 51 per cent of possession against Tahiti was in the middle and final third of the court.
The Players: Goalkeeper Anthony Talo was outstanding against Tahiti and certainly contributed to the side keeping a clean sheet. Jack Wetney looks to be back on form and George Stevenson also made a real impact on the game.
Coach Quote: “I don’t have a first five, everyone is the same because I need to have 14 players available for all the different situations. This is my job, first to get a title, and second to develop some of the youngsters and try and give them opportunities. They will have their time soon.”
Solomon Islands: 1. Anthony TALO (GK), 2. Francis LAFAI, 3. Elliot RAGOMO, 4. George STEVENSON, 5. Samuel OSIFELO, 6. Robert LAUA, 7. James EGETA, 8. Jeffery BULE, 9. Micah LEA’ALAFA, 10. Jack WETNEY, 11. Col
eman MAKAU, 12. Paul HUIA (GK), 13. Mathias SARU, 14. Alvin HOU
Coach: Juliano SCHMELING (BRA)
New Zealand vs. Tahiti
Tuesday 9 February 2016
Kick-off: 8pm (local)
Referee 1: Darius TURNER (AUS)
Referee 2: Ryan SHEPHEARD (AUS)
Third Official: Jainut DEAN (FIJ)
Timekeeper: Aten KUMAR (FIJ)
Vital Statistics: Four of New Zealand’s five goals against Vanuatu were from close range inside the arc, with the fifth just outside. They enjoyed 57 per cent of possession.
The Players: Vanuatu had 12 shots on target but recorded no goals and a lot of the credit for that goes to goalkeeper Ellias Billeh. He doesn’t have biggest stature but he appears larger than life when he’s between the goal posts.
Coach Quote: “The plan is not that different to what we’ve done in the past, keeping the ball moving especially.”
New Zealand: 1. Ata ELAYYAN (GK), 2. Luc SAKER, 3. Tai BARHAM, 4. Stephen ASHBY-PECKHAM, 5. James VAUGHAN, 6. Kareem OSMAN, 7. Marvin EAKINS, 8. Daniel BURNS, 9. Jakub SINKORA, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Lucas CORDEIRO OSORIO DA SILVA, 12. Elias BILLEH (GK), 13. Miroslav MALIVUK, 14. Brayden LISSINGTON
Coach: Scott GILLIGAN (AUS)
Vital Statistics: Tahiti progressed to the 2011 final after beating New Zealand in the semi-final. The two sides were locked at 3-3 after extra time, with the Aito Arii going through after winning the penalty shoot-out 4-3.
The Players: Steeve Wong was excellent at winning the ball and creating forward movements for Tahiti. They had their chances but struggled to get their finishing on target, with just seven of their 39 shots on target – most of those on-target shots coming from either Smith or Anderson Tino.
Coach Quote: “Fortunately we’ve had our first match and the players know what it is to play in this stadium and I think today we will show the true colours of the team, what the Aito Arii really are.”
Tahiti: 1. Teva DUROT (GK), 2. Matana BEA, 3. Steeve WONG, 4. Tamanui TURIHONO, 5. Manea RATEAU, 6. Alexis TOOFA, 7. Gabriel KAVERA, 8. Utiera PUKOKI, 9. Anderson TINO, 10. Teivarii KAIHA, 11. Tane TAVE, 12. Smith TINO, 13. Heimana FAARAHIA, 14. Paul PITO (GK)
Coach: Jacob TUTAVAE (TAH)