10 Sep 2016

Sport: Vanuatu footballers not looking too far ahead

12:39 pm on 10 September 2016

Vanuatu are refusing to look beyond this afternoon's final group match against New Caledonia at the Oceania Under 20 Men's Football Championship.

The hosts have impressed in Port Vila, beating defending champions Fiji 1-0 and Papua New Guinea 3-1, to seal a semi final berth with a game to spare.

Meanwhile New Caledonia thrashed PNG 4-1 first up but were held to a 1-1 draw against Fiji.

A draw or better would ensure the Francophones join Vanuatu in advancing from Group A into the knockout rounds while Fiji need to win big against PNG and hope the hosts maintain their winning run.

Vanuatu coach Etienne Mermer says his team remains focused on their final pool match.

"We don't want to talk about the semi final yet. We just want to stay focused and think about what is going to happen against New Caledonia. Everybody wants to be the first (in the pool) but for Team Vanuatu we just take it game by game," he said.

"We all know that Vanuatu is already in the semi finals but we will see with the New Caledonia team - if god's willing we will top the pool, otherwise New Caledonia will top the pool, but if we came second it doesn't matter for us."

Etienne Mermer has been pleased with his team's performances to date and says the home support in Port Vila has been a big help.

"It was great for us to have our own crowd so that advantage from how we play, we believe that the crowd is behind us and just to have something like that to motivate the team and keep playing and keep winning."

Meanwhile in Group B it's a similar situation with New Zealand looking to keep their perfect start going against the second-placed Solomon Islands.

Tahiti are three points behind the Solomons and need to win big against Cook Islands to have any chance of sneaking into the semi finals.

Vanuatu will play New Caledonia in a one-off friendly.

Vanuatu will play New Caledonia in a one-off friendly. Photo: Vanuatu Football