2014 World Cup qualifying: New Zealand wins Oceania

Teaukura Moetaua

New Zealand will play the fourth place team from CONCACAF in a two-legged playoff for a spot in the 2014 World Cup.

New Zealand is the champion of Oceania once again, at least in World Cup qualifying. The All Whites defeated New Caledonia on Friday to make it a perfect 15 points from five matches in the final round of World Cup qualifying, which put them six points clear of second place with one matchday remaining. That clinched the Oceania championship for New Zealand, but they still went out and pasted the Solomon Islands 2-0 on Tuesday to make it a perfect six wins in six final round matches.

The Oceania Football Confederation does not have its own place in the 2014 World Cup so New Zealand is not through to Brazil just yet. They will not advance to a two-legged playoff against the fourth place team from CONCACAF, which will be played in November. The winner of that tie will advance to the World Cup.

The All Whites entered World Cup qualification in the second round, where they won two matches and drew one to top the group and advance to the final round. There, they outscored New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Tahiti 17-2 over six matches, all of them wins. No All White scored more than three goals in the round, but five different players scored multiple goals as New Zealand expectedly cruised to the the top of the confederation.

New Zealand has been the only notable team left in Oceania since Australia left the confederation for the Asian confederation in 2006. Last World Cup cycle, the All Whites won their first five matches to win the confederation, too, before falling in the meaningless finale. They then went on to defeat Bahrain over two legs to book their spot in the 2010 World Cup, where they drew all three matches to finish the tournament as the only undefeated team.

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