28 Oct 2014

Football Ferns close in on World Cup

2:50 pm on 28 October 2014

The New Zealand women's football team are just a draw away from qualifying for next year's World Cup in Canada after claiming another win at the Oceania Women's Nations Cup.

New Zealand's Annalie Longo competes for the ball.

New Zealand's Annalie Longo competes for the ball. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Football Ferns beat hosts Papua New Guinea 3-0 in their latest match, meaning the New Zealanders can secure their place at the 2015 World Cup with a draw against the Cook Islands on Wednesday.

Second half goals to Rebekah Stott, Amber Hearn and Annalie Longo secured a hard-fought result against the hosts who battled gamely at the Kalabond Oval.

It took until the 59th minute for Stott to get the Football Ferns off the mark, a low drive from the edge of the box seeing the 27-cap central defender net for the first time for her country.

Hearn added the Football Ferns' second goal of the game - and her 39th for New Zealand - five minutes before the second half water break, pouncing on the ball in the area to fire home after Rosie White had headed goal wards.

Longo volleyed in the game's final goal two minutes into second half stoppage time.

Football Ferns coach Tony Readings said Papua New Guinea's tactics proved a tough nut to crack in stifling conditions.

Readings says it was a lot hotter than it was in the last game, and Papua New Guinea employed completely different tactics to Tonga which they executed brilliantly.

"Against Tonga we were able to get in behind the defence but often with Papua New Guinea they put all their players behind the ball and it meant that it was difficult in the conditions to be able to break down a very compact defence."

"But we still created a whole bunch of chances so that's another thing we need to keep working on because we should have put the game to bed a lot earlier than we did."

After a 1-1 draw in Monday's match between the Cook Islands and Tonga, the Football Ferns can secure their passage to Canada on Wednesday with a draw against the Cook Islands.

Readings says the focus in game three will be about applying the knowledge gained from both outings so far.

"There are a lot of learning's we can take from both games and we want to leave this tournament on the most positive note we can so it sets us up well for the big games weave got coming up next month."

Wednesday's match against the Cook Islands kicks off at 2pm (NZ time).