OFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2012

The teams of Great Britain and New Zealand line up during Group E Woman’s Football match at Millennium Stadium (Photo by Jamie McDonald – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The third edition of the OFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament took place in 2012 to decide the OFC representative for the women’s football tournament at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. The OFC qualifying tournament was broken into two stages, the first saw four nations participate in a preliminary tournament hosted by Tonga, with two advancing to a final.

Papua New Guinea went through group stage unbeaten, edging hosts Tonga 2-0, while producing convincing performances against Vanuatu and Samoa to reach the final, with Tonga joining them. It was a closely fought final with Papua New Guinea beating Tonga by the same margin as the did in group play to advance to the second stage of Olympic qualification.

Jenny Bindon of New Zealand punches ball clear during Group E Match against Brazil at 2012 Olympic Games (Photo by Jamie McDonald – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Awaiting the winners of the preliminary stage was New Zealand, with both teams squaring off in a home-and-away play-off for a place at the Olympics. It was all but decided after the first leg in Whangarei, two goals from Amber Hearn and Ria Percival carried New Zealand to an 8-0 victory. They finished off the second tie with a 7-0 win over Papua New Guinea away in Port Moresby, qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics with a 15-0 win on aggregate.

At the Olympics Games in London is where New Zealand became just the second OFC nations to progress through to the knockout stages of a women’s olympic football tournament. Thrown into a group with Great Britain, Brazil, and Cameroon, New Zealand drew the hosts in their opening game, playing in front of a crowd of about 35,000, the Football Ferns struggled against Great Britain, going down 1-0.

Hannah Wilkinson of New Zealand during Quarter Final against United States at 2012 Olympic Games at St James’ Park (Photo by Robert Cianflone – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

In their second-match they faced Brazil, New Zealand looked to have done a enough to earn a surprise draw, when the South Americans managed to find the goal in the last five minutes, to win 1-0. Needing a win in their final match against Cameroon to give them any chance of reaching the knockout stages, the Football Ferns saved their best for last beating Cameroon 3-1 to progress as one of the best third-placed teams

Playing in their first quarter-final ever, New Zealand put in a gutsy display against eventual champions USA but were unable to cause the upset of the tournament, going gown 2-0.