An emphatic 11-0 victory over Tonga in the deciding fixture at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium capped an impressive tournament from the Junior Ferns, who scored 27 goals over their three matches to ease past their continental rivals. The Kiwis had earlier beaten American Samoa and the Cook Islands by an identical 8-0 margin, and captain Anna Green – a survivor of the team who went so close to reaching the knockout stage at the last FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – spoke of her delight at booking a return ticket.
“It’s an awesome feeling to qualify,” she said. “My goal is now to lead this team to at least a place in the quarter-finals at the World Cup in Germany.”
The star of the tournament was rising star Rosie White, who walked away with Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards after scoring five goals against the Tongans to take her tally for the tournament to nine.
As coach Tony Readings said: “Rosie White is the obvious standout. I also thought Chelsea Wood played well at the back coming in for her first game. But I’ve been pretty happy with most of the them, if not all of them, over the course of the three games.”