New Zealand 2-1 victory over New Caledonia secured their place in Poland. New Zealand had to put in a massive shift against New Caledonia to secure their place after the Francophones took the lead through a Max Mata own goal.
New Zealand started strong with a couple of early forays into their opponent’s final third to test goalkeeper Une Kecine’s reflexes. Leon Van den Hoven kept the ball moving up the right flank for the defending champions, while Matt Conroy and Mata had a couple of chances either saved or just off-target.
New Caledonia were most threatening on the counter-attack with Paul Gope-Fenepej using his pace to put New Zealand on the back foot. Struggling to keep up with the speed of the attack, New Zealand were at times forced to commit fouls to allow the backline to get back and reset.
Although as semi-final winners New Zealand and Tahiti have qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019, they still have the regional title to play for in Saturday’s final at Stade Pater.