OFC Men’s Nations Cup 2000

The OFC Nations Cup 2000 was the fifth staging of OFC’s premier event and was held in Papeete, Tahiti. The tournament followed the same format as it had in 1998, with six teams split across two groups and the top two progressing to the semi-finals. Australia and New Zealand qualified by right, whilst the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu booked their place through the 2000 Melanesia Cup, and tournament hosts Tahiti secured their spot alongside the Cook Islands through the 2000 Polynesia Cup. Australia was grouped alongside the Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands in Group A, whilst hosts Tahiti joined defending champions New Zealand and Vanuatu in Group B.


(Photo credit PAUL LAKATOS/AFP via Getty Images)

Hat–tricks from Paul Agostino, Craig Foster, and Clayton Zane were the catalysts for Australia’s big 17-0 drubbing of the Cook Islands to open up Group A. They secured top spot in the group with a 6-0 win over the Solomon Islands, who also qualified for the semi-finals with a 5-1 victory over the Cook Islands.

New Zealand also progressed through Group B relatively comfortably, picking up a 2-0 win over Tahiti and a 3-1 victory over Vanuatu. Hosts Tahiti would miss out on the knockout stages for the first time in OFC Nations Cup history though, falling to a dramatic 2-3 defeat to Vanuatu on the final matchday, who joined New Zealand in the semi-finals.

After cruising through the group stages, Australia didn’t find it quite as easy in the semi-finals, requiring an early penalty from Kevin Muscat to edge Vanuatu 1-0. New Zealand set up another Trans-Tasman OFC Nations Cup final with a 2-0 win over the Solomon Islands in the second semi-final, thanks to a second half double from Simon Elliott.

Australia gained revenge for their defeat in the final of the 1998 OFC Nations Cup final with a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in the final of the 2000 edition. Goals from Shaun Murphy and Craig Foster were the difference, as Australia claimed their third OFC Nations Cup title. Earlier the Solomon Islands beat Vanuatu 2-1 in the third-place play-off to claim bronze, whilst Australians Clayton Zane and Craig Foster finished as joint top-scorers for the tournament with five goals each.

As continental champions, Australia earnt the right to represent OFC at the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Korea and Japan, and once again impressed with a run to the bronze medal. After finishing runners-up in 1998, they beat Mexico and France in the group stage, before pulling off a famous 1-0 victory over Brazil in Ulsan to finish third.