In preparation for their upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ OFC Stage 3 final, Solomon Islands will play Vanuatu in a friendly match at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara at 3pm today (local time).
Counting down the days until they face 2016 OFC Nations Cup winners New Zealand in September, Solomon Islands are trying to squeeze in as much quality game time as they can and after their narrow 1-0 win against Vanuatu when the two sides last met at the OFC Nations Cup, the Melanesian clash is expected to deliver.
Solomon Islands Technical Director and national team coach Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso has been working closely with the extended squad since his appointment in February and is looking forward to the side showcasing their development.
“The current Solomon Islands national team is looking positive,” he said.
“It is good now that there are good players in the bench that kept pushing the ones in the starting 11. Honestly, as a coach, this is what I want. If I see a player not performing, I have no problem in choosing someone else in the team because I know for sure, they will perform similar or even better.
“Now it’s really competitive in the current national team. The strikers are doing well, the midfielders are also improving much better and the defenders are solid.
“I believe if we continue on this positive trend, we’ll be a convincing team when we visit New Zealand”.
Solomon Islands will meet New Zealand at QBE Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, on 1 September before both teams travel to Solomon Islands for their second meeting at Lawson Tama Stadium on 4 September to determine Oceania’s representative in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Intercontinental Playoff.
The Intercontinental Playoff will see Oceania’s champion face the fifth-place CONMEBOL nation in a two-legged encounter for a berth at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.