Two teams who potentially could meet New Zealand in the knockout stages have failed to play their opening matches at the OFC U-19 Championship in Tahiti.
Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea both told the Oceania Football Confederation they were “unable to play” their opening games.
In a statement on the OFC website, the tournament organisers said:
“The Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) and Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) have today informed the Oceania Football Confederation that they will be unable to play their opening matches at the OFC U-19 Championship 2022 in Tahiti.
“Vanuatu had been due to play New Caledonia in the first Group C clash on Thursday, September 8 at 2pm local time, while Papua New Guinea were scheduled to play the tournament’s first Group B match against Fiji on the same day at 5pm local time.
“The matter is now being referred to the appropriate bodies.”
New Zealand, who are in Group A, won their opening game 8-0 against the Cook Islands.
READ MORE: Match report and video replay for New Zealand v Cook Islands >>>>
New Zealand’s fixtures
New Zealand’s group games are being played at Tahiti’s 5,000-seater Stade Fautaua.
Sunday September 11 (1pm NZT): New Zealand v America Samoa
Wednesday September 14 (1pm NZT): New Zealand v Solomon Islands
Group A: New Zealand, Solomon Islands, American Samoa, Cook Islands
Group B: Tahiti, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga
Group C: New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Samoa (this group will have a bye for each team)
About the OFC U-19 Championship
New Zealand have won the championship at seven of the 22 previous tournaments.
New Zealand are the current title holders, having won in 2018, the last time the championship was held.
The finalists at the tournament automatically qualify for the 2023 FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup in Indonesia.