OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2010

New Zealand celebrate entry into the Women’s World Cup. OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2010, Grand Final, New Zealand v Papua New Guinea, North Harbour Stadium, Albany, Friday 8th October 2010. Photo: Shane Wenzlick

The ninth edition of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup was held in 2010 and was hosted in Auckland, New Zealand, with all matches played at North Harbour Stadium. It also served as the OFC qualifying tournament for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, and was contested between eight nations, the most seen in tournament history up to that point.

The format consisted of two groups of four nations, with the top two in each group progressing to the semi-finals. Hosts and defending champions New Zealand were joined by Tahiti, the Cook Islands, and Vanuatu in Group A, whilst Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, and the Solomon Islands were drawn together in Group B. In dominant fashion New Zealand wrapped up top spot in Group A with three wins from three, defeating Vanuatu 14-0, the Cook Islands 10-0, and Tahiti 7-0. The decisive fixture came on the opening matchday though, when the Cook Islands edged Tahiti 1-0 through a 15th minute Regina Mustonen strike. That gave them the ability to wrap up second place in the group and a spot in the semi-finals with a 2-0 victory over Vanuatu.

The Cook Islands starting line up. OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2010, Cook Islands v NZ, North Harbour Stadium, Albany, Friday 1st October 2010. Photo: Shane Wenzlick

Group B was more competitive, with 2007 runners-up Papua New Guinea not having it all their own way. They did finish with three wins and maximum points, but were notably pushed hard by the Solomon Islands for a tough 2-1 win on matchday two. The decisive fixture in the group also came on the first matchday, with the Solomon Islands beating Tonga 4-0, before holding on for a 0-0 draw with Fiji to secure second place and the last spot in the semi-finals. Again New Zealand faced no problems when they pushed past the Solomon Islands 8-0 in the first semi-final. Six different goalscorers contributed for the hosts, with Sarah Gregorius and Rosie White scoring twice.

NZ’s Sarah Gregorius tangles with Esther Kurabi. OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2010, Grand Final, New Zealand v Papua New Guinea, North Harbour Stadium, Albany, Friday 8th October 2010. Photo: Shane Wenzlick

The second semi-final was a much tighter affair, as Papua New Guinea edged past the Cook Islands 1-0. Zeen Limbai scored the lone goal as Papua New Guinea advanced into their first ever OFC Women’s Nations Cup final. North Harbour Stadium bore witness to the most one-sided OFC Women’s Nations Cup final of all time, as New Zealand ran out 11-0 winners over Papua New Guinea. Rosie White stood out with her four goals, securing back-to-back titles and a fourth continental crown for New Zealand, who also booked their place at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands beat the Solomon Islands 2-0 in the third place play-off to secure bronze. New Zealand’s Amber Hearn finished as the tournament’s top scorer with twelve goals, notably scoring five in one game against Vanuatu in the group stage.