OFC Women’s Nations Cup 1998

The sixth edition of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup was held in 1998 and was hosted in Auckland, New Zealand, with all matches played at Mt Smart Stadium. It doubled as OFC qualifying for the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and consisted of six participants, the most in tournament history up to that point. The competition also underwent a format change with two groups of three teams each, and the top two in each group progressing to the semi-finals.

Hosts New Zealand were paired with Fiji and Samoa in Group A, whilst defending champions Australia were joined by Papua New Guinea and American Samoa in Group B. Group A proved routine for New Zealand, who wrapped up top spot with a 21-0 drubbing of Samoa and a big 14-0 win over Fiji. The second semi-final place was secured by Fiji, who beat Samoa 5-0 on the final day of group play. Australia also faced little trouble in claiming top spot in Group B, smashing American Samoa 21-0 and beating Papua New Guinea 8-0. Papua New Guinea joined them in the semi-finals with a 9-0 win over American Samoa in the final group stage fixture.

Both Trans-Tasman sides continued their rampage in the semi-finals, with New Zealand booking their place in the final after beating Papua New Guinea 5-0 in the first semi. Australia joined them following a 17-0 demolition of Fiji in the second semi-final, led by hat-tricks from Julie Murray, Sharon Black, and Joanne Peters. Australia made it back-to-back OFC Women’s Nations Cup titles with a 3-1 victory over New Zealand in the final.

Goals from Julie Murray and Bridgette Starr propelled them into the lead inside the first fifteen minutes, and Australia never looked back against the tournament hosts at Mt Smart Stadium, also booking their tickets to the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Earlier Papua New Guinea claimed the bronze medal with a commanding 7-1 win over Fiji in the third place play-off. With 15 goals, Australia’s Pernille Andersen finished as the tournament’s top scorer.