21 Apr 2011

Sport: Solomon Islands look to seal semis spot early

1:06 pm on 21 April 2011

The Solomon Islands can all but book their spot in the Oceania Under 20 men's football semi-finals if they beat New Caledonia this afternoon.

The Mamulas are in Group B with New Caledonia and the host nation, New Zealand, who are heavy favourites to win the title on home soil.

With the Junior All Whites expected to win their matches, today's fixture is effectively a decider to see who will join them in the final four.

Solomon Islands coach Noel Wagapu says that makes this game vital, although he's not prepared to concede defeat to New Zealand yet either.

"If we play well and win the game we should be able to put in a good side against New Zealand but New Zealand, of course, is the number one in Oceania and has a has a very high profile and we will definitely give them a good challenge."

The tournament winners will qualify for the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Columbia later this year.