Kiwis collect ticket to Mexico

New Zealand have qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 with two first-half goals enough for the Kiwis to prevail in the Oceania final against Tahiti in Auckland on Wednesday.

Cameron Howieson had Steve Cain’s side off to a dream start with a long-range goal after just seven minutes. The goalscorer then turned provided nine minutes before the interval with Tim Payne netting to send New Zealand to their third consecutive appearance in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

New Zealand were deserved victors over a valiant Tahitian team that were looking to repeat the upset caused by the nation’s U-20 team in 2009, when they became the first Oceania island nation to qualify for a FIFA tournament other than the Futsal and Beach Soccer World Cups.

New Zealand achieved breakthrough success at Nigeria 2009 with the Young All Whites being the first to advance into the knockout stage of a FIFA tournament.

In the earlier match today, Solomon Islands earned the bronze medal in the OFC U-17 Championship with a 2-0 win over Vanuatu.