26 Jan 2015

Sport: NZ and Tahiti to meet in U17 football final

1:43 pm on 26 January 2015

New Zealand and Tahiti will square off in the final of the Oceania Under 17 football Championship after keeping their perfect records in tact.

Defending champions New Zealand thrashed Vanuatu 5-1 in the first semi final in Pago Pago, on Saturday local time, taking the lead after just three minutes, with an own-goal midway through the second half their only blemish.

The Young All Whites coach Jose Figueira was pleased with the performance of his players, especially in testing conditions.

"So so proud of the performances with the travel, the games and the days I'm very very proud of the level of the performance of the boys today. The instruction has always been to play how we want to play: keep the structure, be brave with the ball and we have the players to do that so I was very proud, even in the big game, when there's some nerves and some tension, that they still did that".

Despite coming up short, Vanuatu assistant coach John Philemon is happy with the attitude of their players, even though they didn't exactly follow instructions.

"The problem is our plan and our strategy to play New Zealand - the boys were not up to what we were saying to them so they were not listening what we were planning to play today. New Zealand always come in the first whistle, first five to ten minutes. They are strong in the first half and score then that's it for New Zealand so our tactic was not working".

Meanwhile the francophone derby lived up to expectations with Tahiti coming from behind to edge New Caledonia 3-2.

The final will take place on Monday afternoon in Pago Pago, with the winner to qualify for the Under 17 World Cup in Chile later this year.