Kiwis top Oceania to reach world finals

New Zealand have progressed through to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan with a convincing 9-0 defeat of Papua New Guinea on the final day of qualifying in Oceania.

In a round-robin qualifying competition, the Kiwis made easy work of the opposition as they recorded an impressive 29 goals en route to claiming their place at Azerbaijan 2012. After a 7-0 victory over Cook Islands on Monday, New Zealand went on to thrash New Caledonia 13-1, setting up for a final showdown against Papua New Guinea.

The Young Football Ferns made clear their intentions right out the gate, scoring against their Pacific challengers within just one minute through Megan Lee’s close-range effort. New Zealand enjoyed the majority of chances, and took a daunting five-goal lead into the break thanks to a Daisy Cleverley effort on 22 minutes followed by a Hannah Carlsen hat-trick.

New Zealand started the second half just as they did the first. Jasmine Pereira volleyed home a Catherine Bott flick-on just one minute after the restart to dispel any notions of a Papua New Guinea fightback. The Young Ferns netted twice more to take their tally up to eight thanks to an Emma Rolston header and yet another from Carlsen.

And, knowing their place at the world finals was all but assured, the Kiwis cruised to victory. Papua New Guinea lost Talitha Irakau to a second caution in the closing stages, and to add insult to injury, Pereira scored her second in the final minute of injury time.