OFC Men’s Nations Cup 1998

The fourth edition of the OFC Nations Cup took place in 1998 and was held in Brisbane, Australia. The tournament consisted of six teams, with Australia and New Zealand qualifying by right, Fiji and Vanuatu progressing through the 1998 Melanesian Cup, and Tahiti and the Cook Islands booking their spot through the 1998 Polynesian Cup. The six teams were split between two groups, with the top two in each group qualifying for the semi-finals. New Zealand, Tahiti, and Vanuatu were drawn together in Group A, whilst hosts Australia were paired with Fiji and the Cook Islands in Group B.

Top spot in Group A was decided on the opening day, with New Zealand edging Tahiti 1-0 thanks to a first half goal, before beating Vanuatu 8-1 to secure their progression. Tahiti claimed second and joined New Zealand in the semi-finals with a 5-1 win over Vanuatu on the final matchday.

Two-time defending champions Australia made light work of Group B, beating Fiji 3-1 and smashing the Cook Islands 16-0 to book their place in the semi-finals. Damian Mori was a stand-out for Australia with two hat-tricks across the two group games. Fiji joined them with a 3-0 win over the Cook Islands on the final matchday.

New Zealand met Fiji in the first semi-final and required an 88th minute winner from defender Danny Hay to book their place in the final with a 1-0 victory. Australia squared off with Tahiti in the second semi, a replay of the two previous OFC Nations Cup finals, and found it much easier with a convincing 4-1 win. Damian Mori again caught the headlines with a third successive hat-trick, finishing as the tournament’s top scorer with ten goals.

In a battle between the two Trans-Tasman rivals in the final of the 1998 OFC Nations Cup at Lang Park in Brisbane, New Zealand pulled off a famous 1-0 win over hosts Australia to lift the title. Mark Burton was the hero with the decisive lone goal for New Zealand, helping his nation towards their second OFC Nations Cup crown. Earlier Fiji beat Tahiti 4-2 in the third-place playoff to secure bronze, and a first top three finish.