PNG heads Oceania pool for qualifiers

The National, Wednesday July 20th, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea tops Group B in the OFC Stage 3 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier set for next year.
New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, as champion and runners-up,at this year’s Nations Cup, were seeded as A1 and B1 respectively for the next stage of the Oceania World Cup qualifying tournament.
The other contenders in Group B are Solomon Islands and Tahiti.
Solomon Islands will have the opportunity to avenge their loss to PNG in the semi-finals.
Tahiti-Niu are drawn alongside PNG and Solomon Islands.
In Group A, New Caledonia will have an opportunity to avenge their defeat by New Zealand in the semi-finals of that competition, with Fiji also pooled in the same group.
The official draw for the OFC Stage 3 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia Qualifiers was held at the OFC Academy yesterday revealing the next step for the six nations hoping to earn their tickets to Russia.
Group A: A1 New Zealand, A2 New Caledonia, A3 Fiji; Group B: B1 PNG, B2 Solomon Islands, B3 Tahiti.
The match schedule has already been confirmed, taking into account the need for New Zealand to have a bye leading up to and during the Fifa Confederations Cup, and PNG’s requirements to host the Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup this November.
The Fifa qualifiers for Oceania started in Tonga in 2015 with the hosts welcoming American Samoa, Cook Islands and Samoa for Stage 1.