New Zealand start hot favourites to beat Papua New Guinea in their opening match at the Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament in Qatar.
An indication of expectations is the skinny price offered by the TAB for an All Whites win — they’re paying only $1.08, whereas PNG are regarded as $26 longshots and the draw is offered at $10.
Favourites or not, New Zealand still have to win the game, the first of three they will play in Group B.
Here’s your guide to the match:
3am Saturday March 19, 2022 (NZT).
Qatar SC Stadium (also known as Suheim bin Hamad Stadium), Doha, Qatar.
Completed in 1985, this multi-purpose stadium holds 15,000 spectators.
How to watch
The match will be broadcast live to New Zealand on Sky Sports 7.
What they said
“Over the past year, we have shown people what we are capable of as a team. Now is when we have to put everything we have been talking about into practice as we fight to return to the FIFA World Cup.” — NZ head coach Danny Hay.
“New Zealand first up, we know we need a result.” — PNG defender Alwin Komolong (click here for more).
“We are not afraid of New Zealand. I am 100 per cent sure the team will do something positive in Qatar. The squad has shown amazing resilience and their ability to absorb what is being taught augers well for their success.” — PNG head coach Marcos Gusmao.
Last five meetings
New Zealand 0, Papua New Guinea 1
May 31, 1997, Port Moresby, PNG
New Zealand 7, Papua New Guinea 0
June 11, 1997, Auckland
Scorers: Coveny (3), W Rufer (2), Elliott, Stevens.
New Zealand 9, Papua New Guinea 1
July 7, 2002, Auckland
Scorers: Killen (4), Campbell (2), Burton, de Gregorio, Nelsen.
New Zealand 2, Papua New Guinea 1
June 4, 2012: Honiara, Solomon Islands
Scorers: Smeltz, Wood.
New Zealand 0, Papua New Guinea 0
June 11, 2016, Port Moresby.
Matthew GOULD (Altrincham FC, England), Oli SAIL (Wellington Phoenix), Jamie SEARLE (Swansea City, Wales).
Nikko BOXALL (San Diego Loyal, USA), Francis de VRIES (IFK Värnamo, Sweden), Dane INGHAM (Newcastle Jets, Australia), Niko KIRWAN (Calcio Padova, Italy), Winston REID (Unattached), Tommy SMITH (Colchester United, England), Dalton WILKINS (Kolding IF, Denmark).
Cam HOWIESON (Auckland City FC), Clayton LEWIS (Wellington Phoenix), Ben OLD (Wellington Phoenix), Kosta BARBAROUSES (Sydney FC, Australia), Joe CHAMPNESS (Giresunspor, Turkey), Andre de JONG (AmaZulu FC, South Africa).
Kosta BARBAROUSES (Sydney FC, Australia), Logan ROGERSON (FC Haka, Finland), Ben WAINE (Wellington Phoenix), Matthew GARBETT (Torino, Italy).
Head coach: Danny Hay.
Unavailable for this game but joining the squad for the remainder of the tournament are:
Joe BELL, Liberato CACACE, Alex GREIVE, Elijah JUST, Stefan MARINOVICH, Callum McCOWATT, Tim PAYNE, Nando PIJNAKER, Jamie SEARLE, Marko STAMENIC, Bill TUILOMA and Chris WOOD.
Papua New Guinea
Coach Gusmao named his starting line-up on Friday:
Roland WARISAN, Koriak UPAIGA, Alwin KOMOLONG, Felix KOLOMONG, Daniel JOE, David MUTA (c), Emmanual SIMON, Jacob SABUA, Tommy SEMMY, Raymond GUNEMBA, Ati KEPO.
Ronald WARISAN (Lae City FC), Russel CHRIS (Hekari United FC), Ilai ILAROVA (Port Moresby Strikers FC).
Alwin KOMOLONG (Lae City FC), Felix KOMOLONG (Lae City FC), Philip STEVEN (Lae City FC), Joshua TALAU (Lae City FC), Daniel JOE (Hekari United FC), Koriak UPAIGA (Hekari United FC), Emmanuel AIREM (Lae City FC), Gimala ESSACU (Western Illinois University, USA).
David MUTA (Hekari United FC), Emmanuel SIMON (Lae City FC), Jacob SABUA (Lae City FC), Yagi YASASA (Hekari United FC), Michael FOSTER (Hekari United FC), Pala PAUL (Gulf Komara FC).
Stahl GUBAG (Lae City FC), Ati KEPO (Hekari United FC), Obert BIKA (Lae City FC), Raymond GUNEMBA (Lae City Dwellers FC), Mathew DAVID (Port Moresby Strikers FC), Patrick AISA (Port Moresby Strikers FC), Tommy SEMMY (Altona Magic FC, Australia).
Head coach: Marcos Gusmao.
More football stories
Download our one-page guide
Friends of Football have produced a print-friendly one-page guide to the qualifiers.
It covers the Oceania and CONCACAF qualifiers that by March 31 will determine which two nations will play-off in June for the 32nd and final place at the FIFA World Cup finals.