30 Jan 2007

New Zealand and Fiji seen as favourites for World Cup qualifier

10:43 am on 30 January 2007

The Fulham midfielder Chris James scored a hat-trick in New Zealand's 7-0 win over Vanuatu in the Oceania Football Championship youth championship at Waitakere Stadium in Auckland.

The Sydney FC striker Jeremy Brockie also turned in his best game for the New Zealanders as their march toward the FIFA Under 20 World Cup continued.

They led 5-nil at half-time and Michael Cunningham, Cole Peverley and Phil Edginton were also on target.

Solomon Islands World Cup dream ended, despite an 8-1 thrashing of bottom-placed Samoa, and Fiji recovered from Saturday's bruising encounter with New Zealand to beat New Caledonia 2-1.

New Zealand go into day seven of the tournament with a one point advantage over their nearest rivals Fiji.

Today is a rest day and New Zealand play New Caledonia tomorrow.