Qualification history
With a population of just 15,000 Cook Islands are one of the world’s smallest countries, yet their 15 islands are spread over a massive area of some 2 million square kilometres. Despite their logistical and population limitations Cook Islands have featured in five previous FIFA World Cup™ campaigns dating back to France 1998. They have come close to several famous results in the past, notably narrow defeats against New Zealand (2-0) in 2001 and Tahiti (1-0) in 2007. Cook Islands’ Brazil 2014 campaign proved to be one of disappointment as the nation finished bottom of Oceania’s Round One group after recording two one-goal defeats and a draw against their fellow Polynesian opponents.

The team
Like each of their three first-round rivals Cook Islands will consider it an achievement should they win the group and progress to the next stage. There is little big-game experience in the side, and most of the team play their club football locally on the main island of Rarotonga.

The coach
Though still in his 20s Drew Sherman was appointed in early 2015 as Technical Director and national team coach. A former youth player with Swansea City, Sherman came to Polynesia having been an Academy manager for English Premier League club Southampton.

The stat
– Cook Islands have just one competitive win to their credit, which came against OFC Associate Member Tuvalu during their South Africa 2010 qualifying campaign.

The former stars
Joseph Chambers, Heath Dickenson, George Mani, Tony Jamieson