Fiji qualify for U-20 World Cup after tight semi-final win

Fiji celebrate their only goal of the OFC U-19 Championship 2022 semi-final. Photo: OFC Media via Phototek

Fiji have qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia next year with a 1-0 win over New Caledonia in their Oceania U-19s Cup semi-final in Tahiti.

It’s the first time Fiji have made the regional junior final in 20 years.

They now play New Zealand in the final, which also qualifies automatically for the U-20 World Cup.

Nabil Begg’s second-half finish secured a place in Saturday’s tournament showpiece.

Historically, Fiji have the better record in this tournament fixture, winning six of the previous nine meetings against their fellow Melanesians.

That record was reflected in a dominant first-half performance, with the Junior Bula Boys having several chances to take the lead.

In the other semi-final, also held at State Pater in Papeete, New Zealand defeated hosts Tahiti 2-0.

A first-minute header from Isaac Hughes and Kian Donkers’ fortunate second-half strike earned the victory. Donkers has now scored nine goals in this tournament.

New Zealand and Fiji play-off in the final on Saturday, at 8pm local time while Tahiti will face New Caledonia in the third-place play-off.

It will be a tough task for Fiji – New Zealand have won all five games so far, scoring 30 goals without conceding one.

Source: RNZ