The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers – OFC Stage 3 will get back underway in March with Fiji and Papua New Guinea coming into the mix.
The two nations had to watch from the sidelines last November as Tahiti, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and New Zealand kicked-off their campaigns and are eager to now make their own mark on Stage 3.
After enjoying the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the OFC Nations Cup in Papua New Guinea last year OFC President David Chung is excited for local football fans who continue to be spoilt by international football on home soil.
“We witnessed the great following for football in 2016 during the two major events held in Port Moresby and I am looking forward to seeing similar numbers get behind the men’s senior team when they return to action in March,” Chung said.
“We are going to see the groups starting to take shape with this round of matches so I expect competitive and entertaining games to be on the cards at each venue.”
Papua New Guinea will take on Tahiti at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby on 23 March in the first of the Match Day 3 action. The return leg will take place at Stade Pater in Papeete, Tahiti on 28 March.
Meanwhile Fiji will play their first match under new national coach Christophe Gamel against New Zealand in the newly developed Churchill Park in Lautoka on 25 March. New Zealand will host the return leg at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on 28 March.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers for Oceania began in Tonga in 2015 with the hosts welcoming American Samoa, Cook Islands and Samoa for Stage 1. After three days of action Samoa advanced to Stage 2 – the OFC Nations Cup.
The OFC Nations Cup was hosted in Papua New Guinea in May-June 2016 and featured eight OFC Member Associations. The final between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea came down to a penalty-shootout in which the All Whites triumphed to claim their fifth regional title and the opportunity to represent Oceania at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The top six nations at the OFC Nations Cup progress to Stage 3 where they are drawn into two groups of three to play home-and-away matches for a chance to contest the final. The top two sides in each group will play home-and-away to earn the right to progress to the Intercontinental Play-Off, which will be against the fifth-ranked side from CONMEBOL.
Story courtesy of OFC. For more on the OFC Stage 3 qualifier visit www.oceaniafootball.com