Soccer-NZ thrash Solomon Islands, take control of Oceania group



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Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by YAHOO Sport

WELLINGTON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - New Zealand took control of
Oceania's third round qualifying group for the 2014 World Cup
with a 6-1 thrashing of the Solomon Islands in Auckland on
Tuesday.
The victory at North Harbour Stadium gave the All Whites the
maximum six points after the first two matches.
Oceania champions Tahiti are hosting New Caledonia in
Papeete in the other game later. Both sides lost their opening
matches.
New Zealand - who qualified for the 2010 World Cup finals -
had been humbled 2-0 by New Caledonia in the semi-finals of the
Oceania Nations Cup in June, which cost them an opportunity of a
big payday at next year's Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Ricki Herbert's side, however, have not taken their Pacific
island neighbours so lightly for World Cup qualifying, beating
New Caledonia 2-0 last Friday and then producing another
controlled performance on Tuesday.
"In the first 30 minutes we knew they would throw everything
at us up front and pressure us defensively so we knew we had to
go back to front pretty quickly," All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen
said in a pitchside interview.
"We knew if we got our timing right we could get in behind
them. It didn't quite work in the first half but we grinded them
down in the second and got our opportunities."
Shane Smeltz and Kosta Barbarouses gave the All Whites a 2-0
lead by halftime, though Solomon's captain Henry Fa'arodo got
his side back in the match when he took a long pass first time
and swept it past goalkeeper Mark Paston just after the break.
Chris Killen scored New Zealand's third with a header after
replacement goalkeeper Paul Huia was trapped in no man's land
before Tony Lochhead, Chris Wood and Marco Rojas completed the
rout as the visitors defence fell apart in the final 20 minutes.
"They did get back into the game at 2-1 but ... once we got
the third we knew it was going to be a case of how many," Nelsen
added.
"Unfortunately we were a little bit too easy on them at the
end and we should have put more away."
This final stage of qualifying in the Oceania region
consists of a single pool of the four teams, all playing each
other home and away.
The winner of the pool advances to face the fourth-placed
team from the Central and North American confederation
(CONCACAF) in a two-legged playoff for a spot in Brazil.
The third round of matches is on Oct. 12 with Tahiti hosting
New Zealand in Papeete and the Solomon Islands playing New
Caledonia in Honiara.


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