What looms ahead for Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands tomorrow at PNG Football Stadium couldn’t be more different in the eyes of Papua New Guinea coach Flemming Serritslev.
“The starting points for the two teams couldn’t be more different than the case is,” Serritslev said during the pre-match press conference on Monday.
“The Solomon Islands know that one point will bring them to the regional final, whereas we would have to beat Solomons with 5-0, or five goals, to go on to the next stage.”
Serritslev knows that the odds are against his side.
“In the first instance I think people would say that we’re on a mission impossible.
“But in football, everything can happen.”
Serritslev knows that in this game, nothing is impossible.
“I would use just one example from the European Champions League where Paris Saint Germain won 4-0 at home against Barcelona,” he explained.
“Everybody said Barcelona were out, they cannot score five goals to go on. But the result was 6-1.”
It’s the kind of tale that helps him inspire his players to pull of one of their biggest challenges yet.
“If we didn’t believe that we could do it, then it wouldn’t be necessary to line up tomorrow.
“Of course we believe we can do it.”
Serritslev said it’s something the side has done before, pointing out the need to score five goals against Samoa to progress to the OFC Nations Cup semi-finals.
They scored eight.
“Of course the Solomon Islands is a much different opponent, much stronger.
“But there’s no way back. The skill for us will be to attack, and at the same time avoid counter-attacks – that’s how the options are.”
After the loss on Friday in Honiara, the Dane believed the biggest barrier to victory in Port Moresby would be the attitude in camp.
But he’s been impressed with how the players have bounced back.
“We have managed to raise the mood and no matter what happens tomorrow – we’ll die with the boots on.”
Papua New Guinea will play Solomon Islands at PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby on Tuesday 13 June in the final Group B match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – OFC Stage 3.