New Zealand went undefeated to win their sixth OFC Women’s Nations Cup without conceding a goal. The winner of the tournament not only qualifies to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but also to the women’s tournament at the 2020 Olympics. The Women’s Nations Cup was hosted in four cities across New Caledonia from November 18th to December 1st 2018.
Group A saw the 2015 Pacific Games champion Papua New Guinea top the group with three victories. Host nation, New Caledonia finished second with victories against Tahiti and Samoa, a 6-2 loss to Papua New Guinea where Marie Kaipu scored five goals was their only blemish. As a clarification, while New Caledonia and Tahiti are members of FIFA, they are not eligible to qualify to the Olympics due to not having a recognized National Olympic Committee.
In Group B, continental powerhouse New Zealand had three relatively easy wins, scoring a combined 27 goals while conceding none. The runner-up was Fiji, whom required to play in a preliminary round in August just to participate. They defeated Cook Islands and Tonga 3-0 and 12-0 to advance.
The semi-finals saw Fiji coming back from a goal down against Papua New Guinea to win 5-1. The victory allowed Fiji to advance to the finals for the first time in its history and it signalled the first time a Pacific Nation will finish ahead of Papua New Guinea in the standings in either the Nations Cup or Pacific Games. New Zealand also advanced to the final after a dominating 8-0 victory over New Caledonia.
The final saw New Zealand’s Rosie White score within the first minute as she would go on to score a hat trick while New Zealand would go on to win the game 8-0 over Fiji. Papua New Guinea won the bronze medal, defeating New Caledonia, 7-1.
This will be New Zealand’s fourth appearance in the women’s tournament at the Olympics. Their best previous performance was reaching the quarterfinals in 2012.
* New Zealand