Qualifier will face Uruguay, Croatia

Normal, Sports

The National, Wednesday 27th March, 2013

THE Oceania qualifier will face Uzbekistan, Uruguay and Croatia at the Under-20 soccer World Cup in Turkey.
The draw for the 24-team tournament was conducted in Istanbul yesterday, with the yet-to-be-determined Oceania champions drawn in group F alongside Asian, South American and European opposition.
Group matches will be played in Antalya and Bursa, two of the seven host cities.
The Oceania champions have av­­oided some of the big names of world football, though performances at senior level are not always a good indicator of a nation’s strength at age group level.
New Zealand, who have won all three matches at the Oceania qualifying tournament in Fiji, can secure a berth in Turkey with victory in their final match against the hosts tomorrow.
However, a draw or loss opens the door for Fiji, who have won two from two. A draw would leave Fiji requiring a six-goal margin of victory in their final match against weak link Papua New Guinea, who have conceded 11 goals in their two matches, while a loss would leave Fiji requiring a mere win or draw against PNG.
Results suggest the Junior All Whites-Fiji match should go down to the wire.
Both teams have beaten Vanuatu and New Caledonia by one-goal margins, New Zealand escaping with a 3-2 victory over New Caledonia having trailed 2-0 after 25 minutes.