Vanuatu have proven themselves more than capable of competing with Oceania’s elite, securing a number of impressive results across their five FIFA World Cup™ campaigns. Two third-placed finishes in the South Pacific Games saw them progress to the second stage of qualifying for both Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010. A youthful side had a disappointing Brazil 2014 campaign and were eliminated after defeats against New Caledonia and Tahiti, with only a win against preliminary round qualifiers Samoa to show for their efforts. Vanuatu were eliminated in Stage 2 of OFC’s Russia 2018 qualifying on goal difference having recorded a 3-2 win against Fiji, as well as defeats against Solomon Islands and New Zealand.
Vanuatu constantly seem on the cusp of stepping up to the next level in Oceania circles. Their team is typically filled with talented ball-players who invariably also boast impressive physical attributes. After a modest Brazil 2014 campaign by their own standards, there is reason to believe the nation’s young players are ready to make an impact. Vanuatu have impressed in recent years at continental age-limit tournaments, and also represented Oceania at the both the 2010 and 2014 Summer Youth Olympics.
Former national team midfielder Moise Poida was appointed Vanuatu coach in late 2015. Poida, who is also the current coach of regular OFC Champions League participants Tafea, featured in Vanuatu’s famous FIFA World Cup qualifying win over New Zealand in 2004, and was on the scoresheet during qualifiers for South Africa 2010. The only Vanuatu coach to possess an OFC B Licence, Poida was part of the Technical Study Group at the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.
4-2 - The nation’s most famous result was undoubtedly a powerhouse 4-2 victory over New Zealand in 2004; a result which allowed Solomon Islands to secure a passage to the Oceania play-off final against Australia.
The former stars
Richard Iwai, Etienne Mermer, David Chillia