Two more games at the OFC U-19 Championship have been declared as 3-0 default results, turning quarter-final qualification into something of a lottery.
Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea have been punished for their late arrival at the tournament in Tahiti by being ruled to have defaulted their games against New Caledonia and Fiji respectively.
They had already been deemed to have defaulted their opening round games, so both teams have a record of two losses and a 0-6 goal difference.
Ironically, one of them might progress to the quarter-finals as one of the best-performing third-placed teams from their group.
If Papua New Guinea draw or beat Tonga in their only remaining group game, they’ll go through.
If they lose, Vanuatu could go forward without having played a game in the group, as they are in a three-team group.
New Zealand are already assured of a quarter-final place and as Group A winners, they could meet one of the two teams that are blaming visa issues for their late arrival in Papeete.
The New Zealanders need to reach the final of the tournament to qualify for next year’s FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup.
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The Oceania Football Confederation released the following statement on their website, explaining the decisions made:
“The Oceania Football Confederation can confirm that Fiji and Tahiti’s OFC U-19 Championship 2022 Group B fixtures v Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia respectively and Samoa’s Group C fixture v Vanuatu will not be rescheduled.
“In Group B, Papua New Guinea had been scheduled to play Fiji on September 8 at 5.00pm local time and Tahiti on September 11 at 8.00pm local time.
“In Group C, Vanuatu was scheduled to play New Caledonia on September 8 at 2.00pm local time and Samoa on September 11 at 2.00pm local time. However, the Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) and Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) were unable to fulfil their respective fixtures
“All four games will not be rescheduled and are therefore abandoned.
“In accordance with Article 7 of the OFC U-19 Championship 2022 Regulations, Fiji and Tahiti will be awarded 3-0 victories and the resultant three points from their abandoned Group B fixtures with Papua New Guinea.
“New Caledonia and Samoa will also be awarded 3-0 victories and three points from their abandoned Group C fixtures with Vanuatu.
“The matter is now being referred to the appropriate bodies.”
Group A (final)
The group winners and runners-up from each group will progress to the quarter-final stage, as well as the two highest-ranked third-placed teams.
Q1: NEW ZEALAND (winners Group A) v Best performed 3rd team from B/C
Q2: Winner Group B v Best performed 3rd team from A/C
Q3: Winner Group C v SOLOMON ISLANDS (runners-up Group A)
Q4: Runners-up Group B v Runners-up Group C
Winners Q1 v Winners Q2
Winners Q3 v Winners Q4
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.