The OFC Women's Olympic Football Tournament between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea has been changed from a home and away play-off to a single fixture to be played on Saturday 8 March 2008 in Papua New Guinea.

The change was requested and agreed by mutual consent between the two associations and approved by FIFA together with the OFC.

The winner of the match will progress to the Women's Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing in August.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain are forecast for Port Moresby on Saturday along with temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius but Kiwi coach John Herdman is confident his side has enough composure to keep their powder dry in the early running and enough class to prevail despite trying conditions.

"Most of our players have experience of playing in Papua New Guinea [in FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup qualifying last year] so know what to expect," said Herdman.

"There'll be a hostile crowd and the pitch won't be great. It'll be extremely hot and humid and Papua New Guinea will put 11 players behind the ball and try to frustrate us."

"But if we're patient, the goals will come because we've got the quality."

Changes through history
The format for selecting Oceania's women's representative at the Olympic Games Women's Football Tournament, has changed each year since Oceania first gained entry in 2000.

In 2000, Australia, as host nation of the 2000 Olympic Games, qualified. In 2004, a tournament was held in Fiji, featuring the host nation, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

2008 marks the first Olympic Qualifiers since Australia switched confederations from OFC to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on 1 January 2006. The winner of the tournament will be awarded direct entry to Beijing 2008.

New Zealand will head into the fixtures as hot favourites but will face a Papua New Guinea team who achieved its highest-ever placing at an OFC/FIFA World Cup qualifying event last year when it finished runners-up to New Zealand.

Papua New Guinea qualified for an Olympic Games showdown with the Football Ferns after winning the gold medal at the XIII South Pacific Games Women's Football Tournament in Samoa last year.

Papua New Guinea defeated Tonga 3-1 after extra-time to secure the South Pacific Games gold medal and clinch the Olympic Games qualifying berth against New Zealand.

New Zealand were seeded to the play-off stage and did not compete at the South Pacific Games.