Starting line-ups: Esson and Wilkinson to start for Ferns against Solomon Islands

World Cup players Vic Esson and Hannah Wilkinson have been named in the Football Ferns’ starting line-up for the final of the OFC Women’s Olympic Qualifier tournament.

It’s the first start for goalkeeper Esson at the tournament in Apia, Samoa, while Wilkinson has been used sparingly and came off the bench in the semi-final win against Fiji.

They were both starters for New Zealand in last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup matches.

Esson replaces Anna Leat in goal while Wilkinson takes the spot left by Gabi Rennie, who is on the bench.

Missing from the Ferns matchday squad are four players selected for the tournament squad but who have left the New Zealand camp.

Defender Liz Anton returned to her Perth Glory club after the first game by prior arrangement with the Ferns management.

Injuries forced the Wellington Phoenix midfield duo of Annalie Longo (calf strain) and Macey Fraser (mild concussion) to leave the eight-team tournament early, while defender Grace Neville left to rejoin her English club, London City Lionesses, after picking up a calf strain in the semi-final.

On the bench for the final is teenager Ruby Nathan who was first selected on the basis she would return to her Canberra United club after the tournament opener against Tonga.

However, the injuries to Longo and Fraser have led to her extended stay in Samoa.

READ MORE: Injury forces midfielder Macey Fraser out of OFC Women’s Olympic qualifiers >>>>

READ MORE: Midfielder Annalie Longo pulls out of Football Ferns squad ‘as a precaution’ >>>>

READ MORE: Ferns defender Grace Neville joins the injured list ahead of tournament final >>>>


Game to be played on Monday February 19, 2024


Solomon Islands v New Zealand
FFS Football Stadium, Apia, 5pm (NZT)

PREVIEW: Final hurdle looms as Football Ferns seek place at Paris Olympics >>>>


New Zealand

21. Vic Esson
4. Mackenzie Barry
14. Katie Bowen
11. Ally Green
13. Rebekah Stott (captain)
12. Betsy Hassett
2. Kate Taylor
20. Indiah-Paige Riley
16. Jacqui Hand
18. Grace Jale
17. Hannah Wilkinson


22. Brianna Edwards (GK)
1. Anna Leat (GK)
3. Claudia Bunge
5. Michaela Foster
8. Daisy Cleverley
19. Ava Collins
7. Katie Kitching
9. Gabi Rennie
10. Ruby Nathan

Head coach: Jitka Klimková

Solomon Islands

1 Margaret Kofela (GK)
2 Sharoly Saeni
4 Edith Nar
5 Lisa Solo
6 Alisha Donga
7 Almah Gogon
8 Mesalyn Saepio
10 Lleen Pegi (C)
13 Jacklyn Ikama
16 Sandy Aniholland
19 Lorina Solosaia


12 Joan Hanigaro (GK)
20 Sylvester Maenuu (GK)
3 Claudia Votu
9 Jemina David
11 Veronica Tolivaka
14 Rashida Mekawi
15 Kalinsa Fiua
17 Gertrude Oritaimae
18 Mary Maefiti
21 Bridget Alele.
22 Ivy Sade

Head coach: Juan Chang Urrea


Referee: Norbert Hauata (Tahiti)
Assistant referees: Vahina Teura (Tahiti) and Lata Kaumatule (Tonga)
Fourth official: Mederic Lacour (New Caledonia)
Fifth official: Jeremy Garae (Vanuatu)
Referee assessor: Jimmy Warai (Papua New Guinea)

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