All Whites to defend Oceania Nations Cup title at eight-nation tournament

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New Zealand will defend their Oceania Nations Cup men’s title at a two-week tournament in Vanuatu from June 15-30.

The national side will meet hosts Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands in Group A of the eight-nation competition.

Group B will comprise Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tahiti and the winner of a three-nation qualifying series to be held in Tonga from March 20-26, 2024.

The teams seeking to qualify are Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

The draw for the Oceania Nations Cup was made by former Solomon Islands captain Henry Fa’arodo with presenter/broadcaster Andrew Dewhurst at OFC Home of Football – Te Kahu o Kiwa, in Auckland, New Zealand.

Main photo: Henry Fa’arodo (left) and Andrew Dewhurst with the Oceania Nations Cup.

All Whites coach Darren Bazeley said: “This tournament represents a great opportunity to potentially play up to five competitive and challenging games in a competition environment.

“We know we will likely be coming up against a number of teams at this tournament in FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying later this year, so along with looking to test the side against higher ranked nations around the world in other FIFA international windows, it is important that we challenge ourselves against who we will be facing in order to make it to Canada, Mexico and the USA.

“The tournament also gives us the opportunity to have the team together for a longer period than a regular international window normally allows which is important for our development as a side, especially ahead the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics in July which will involve a number of members of the senior side.”

New Zealand will play all its group games in Port Vila, while Group B games will be played in Luganville on the island of Santo.

The Group A winner will face the Group B runner-up with the Group B winner to play the Group A runner-up in the semi-finals. Luganville’s Soccer City Stadium will host one semi-final with VFF Freshwater Stadium in Port Vila to host the other semi-final and the final.

New Zealand’s record

The All Whites won the cup when the last tournament was held in 2016.

It was the fifth time New Zealand had taken the OFC title, with previous wins in 1973, 1998, 2002 and 2006.

New Zealand were to host the tournament in 2020 but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Zealand’s fixtures

Game to be played on Saturday June 15, 2024

New Zealand v New Caledonia
VFF Fresh Water Stadium, Port Vila, 1pm (NZT)

Game to be played on Tuesday June 18, 2024

New Zealand v Solomon Islands
VFF Fresh Water Stadium, Port Vila, 1pm (NZT)

Game to be played on Friday June 21, 2024, 2024

New Zealand v Vanuatu
VFF Fresh Water Stadium, Port Vila, 4pm (NZT)

Tournament schedule

Qualifying series

All three games will be played at the Teufaiva Stadium, Tonga.

Wednesday March 20, 2024: Tonga v Samoa (2pm local time)

Saturday March 23, 2024: Samoa v Cook Islands (2pm local time)

Tuesday March 26, 2024: Cook Islands v Tonga (2pm local time)

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