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Young All Whites book tickets to UAE

The Young All Whites, having dominated the tournament and securing five wins from five games, will represent the Oceania region at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates later this year.#New Zealand coach Darren Bazeley says it is a great feeling to secure a record five wins to qualify for the World Cup as that was the priority coming into this event.#“Credit to the boys because they’ve had some tough moments and it certainly hasn’t been easy, the teams are all improving and they made it hard for us. And obviously the weather conditions have made it difficult for us at times as well,” Bazeley says. “The players have worked really hard to get here and have played some good football. I’m pleased for them and really proud of what they’ve done.”#Papua New Guinea did their best to keep the New Zealanders at bay during the Match Day 5 opener keeping them locked at 0-0 going into the break despite the Kiwis dominating possession. Having wasted most of their chances in the first period with off-target shots, New Zealand turned the notch up a level as a tired Papua New Guinea were slowly worn down by the persistent Kiwi attackers.#After some first half misses Stuart Holthusen finally put his side on the scoreboard with a 57th minute chip over goalkeeper Koniel Vagi. Three minutes later Monty Patterson went one-on-one with Vagi who stayed down after sliding in to clear the ball from Patterson’s feet and Holthusen was able to slot into an empty goal for his second. Vagi left the field on a stretcher and his replacement Peter Pitor was soon forced into action as New Zealand continued their goal assault. Following a powerful advance up the right flank, Andrew Blake cut the ball back for Patterson who tapped home. Blake again played provider less than ten minutes later with a similar play finding Holthusen in the centre who knocked in for his hat-trick.#Bazeley says his side started the match very tired after having put in so much work over the course of the campaign.#“The first half was a bit edgy but credit to Papua New Guinea. They’re a team that had only conceded four goals up until today and so we expected them to be quite strong and they frustrated us for half the game,” he says. “At half-time we asked the boys to dig deep and show a big effort to finish the tournament on high and they played really well in the second half.”#Papua New Guinea coach Bobby Morris says his side put up a good fight, and to lose by just 4-0 against the best side in the region can be regarded as a good effort.#“We were missing some key players because of suspension and we could only play who we had available,” Morris says. “I am happy with the performance, particularly how we played in the first half. We stuck to the game plan well and we held them but in the second half we lost a bit of concentration and I think that’s why they managed to score those goals.”#In the second match the Cook Islands came out with the intention of shutting down Fiji’s attack while aiming to score one of their own. #However the Fijians had other ideas, pushing high and relegating the Cook Islanders to defending their own half. #In the 29th minute Jonetani Buksh headed home to open the scoring for Fiji and the Cook Islands managed to hold them to the 1-0 lead into half-time.# After the break Fiji really started to assert their dominance over a tiring Cook Islands side. #In the 52nd minute captain Iosefo Verevou extended Fiji’s lead after bending a free kick into the top corner.# Six minutes later Suliano Tawananakoro slotted into an open goal after Verevou pulled the ball back to set him up.# Tawananakoro returned the favour after he beat Cook Islands goalkeeper Keegan Inia before hitting the inside of the post and setting Verevou up to tap home for Fiji’s fourth.# The final nail was hammered in with one minute remaining on the clock after Shalvin Sharma lifted a volley over Inia from close range.#Cook Islands coach Tuka Tisam says his side gave 100 per cent today as they have throughout the tournament. He says the team could have opened the scoring in the first few minutes of the game but didn’t – which is the nature of the game.#“I think if we look back over the tournament we could have done better on attack. We probably should have brought some more attacking players here because we had a lot of injuries and didn’t have much left on the bench,” Tisam says. “I think some of the boys have a bright future ahead of them because they will go on to play for the Cook Islands national team or move to New Zealand on a scholarship.”#Fiji coach Kamal Swamy says he’s happy with the performance because two wins is an improvement of the previous U-17 campaign which secured just one win from all their matches.#“We had only five weeks to prepare this team so to get seven points is a good effort,” Swamy says.” I think we have learned that we need to put much more time into our preparation and we need to start developing our players from a younger age.”#In the final match of the day, and the tournament, hosts Vanuatu came out victorious over the second placed New Caledonians securing third place for themselves with a 3-1 win.# With a huge home crowd behind them, and victory the only way to assure that podium finish ahead of Fiji, Vanuatu came out of the blocks firing. With heavy rain creating a slippery cover on the field New Caledonia struggled to overcome the conditions and play the passing game they’re become renowned for at this tournament.# However Vanuatu managed to keep the ball under control as they played their way through the middle and ran rampant up the flanks to pepper the goal with shot after shot.#Their tactics paid off as the hosts finally shaking their goal scoring curse. #Their first goal came courtesy of playmaker Ruben Frank who slipped a shot between New Caledonia keeper Thomas Schmidt and the post after 22 minutes. #The Caledonians managed to keep the tally down up until the break but Vanuatu had no intention of letting the score remain just 1-0. Justin Koka was on the score board in the 50th minute after tapping the ball around Schmidt, off the upright and into the back of the net before defender Jaison Thomas headed home from a Bong Kalo free kick eight minutes later. New Caledonia earned themselves a consolation goal in the 74th minute after substitute Jim Ouka found the back of the net, but it wasn’t quite enough to catch the home side.#New Caledonia coach Kamali Fitialeata says his side played without really playing today, and weren’t helped by the conditions which didn’t favour their style of game.#“Congratulations to Vanuatu who had the drive, and third place to win. We are thrilled with second place. I’m very happy for the boys, the staff, for New Caledonia. It’s New Caledonian football that has been replenished today.”#Vanuatu manager Anthony Pisano says it was a great effort from the side, with everyone playing superbly and managing to score some goals which had previously been an issue.#“We’ve been working on our shape and tactical awareness and we’ve been fairly successful throughout the whole tournament and today we proved that we’re able to score a few goals,” Pisano says. “It’s great to be playing in front of a home crowd and we have to thank the people here in Luganville for coming out and supporting the side.”#In the personal awards, New Zealand pair Stuart Holthusen and Monty Patterson picked up the Golden Boot, with Patterson also earning the Golden Ball while Young All Whites goalkeeper Zac Speedy was awarded the Golden Gloves. New Caledonia were the recipients of the Fair Play Award for their superior disciplinary record.

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