Oceania Lastly Begins Its Street To The Qatar 2022 World Cup … In Doha In 2022

With the draw for the group levels of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup simply two weeks away, the Oceania Soccer Confederation lastly began its World Cup qualifying matches.

Oceania solely will get half a spot on the World Cup. One of the best of the eight nations competing within the OFC World Cup qualifying can have the possibility to contest a playoff match towards the fourth-placed staff from North America (most definitely Panama or Costa Rica) in June for a solitary World Cup spot.

However whereas the highway to Qatar 2022 is troublesome, in a technique, the groups from Oceania have already reached their vacation spot.

On account of Covid-19, all of the OFC’s qualifying matches are being held within the Qatari capital Doha, although they’re being performed on the smaller Al-Arabi Stadium and Qatar SC Stadium somewhat than at any of the particular World Cup venues.

It may appear odd that they might fly midway around the globe for these video games, however the usage of a single venue might truly assist these international locations keep away from costly flights to a number of away video games. Tahiti participant Tutehau Tufariua has mentioned taking part in this in Qatar is “already a bit like our World Cup”.

Covid-19 can also be the explanation why these matches are going down in March 2022. They have been supposed to start out in September 2020, however have been delayed a number of occasions.

Whereas soccer in Europe has principally been again to regular for nearly a season, soccer within the Pacific continues to be at a standstill, with the area opting to ban journey as one among its primary methods to fight the virus.

In addition to the World Cup qualifiers, the 2020 OFC Nations Cup was additionally cancelled, as have been the 2020 and 2021 editions of the OFC Champions League. The area didn’t ship a staff to the 2020 Membership World Cup and needed to nominate AS Pirae for the 2021 match.

And the groups aren’t free from the virus, even in Qatar. Tahiti’s opening match towards Vanuatu on March 18th was referred to as off after a Covid-19 outbreak left Vanuatu unable to discipline a full staff. Vanuatu might find yourself going house with out having kicked a ball.

A day earlier within the opening match of Group A, the Solomon Islands beat the Cook dinner Islands 2-0 with two first-half targets. That places them in a superb place to advance from their four-team group and attain the semi-finals of qualifying. In the event that they get that far, they may play one of many groups in Group B, which accommodates relative heavyweights New Zealand.

New Zealand reached the World Cup again in 2010, the primary 12 months since regional rivals Australia moved to the Asian Soccer Confederation. They beat Bahrain within the World Cup qualifying play-off, then went on to be the one undefeated staff at South Africa 2010, drawing their three matches towards Slovakia, Paraguay and Italy however nonetheless getting eradicated on the group stage. It was New Zealand’s second World Cup look as in addition they certified in 1982 when OFC and AFC qualification was mixed.

Within the earlier two World Cup qualification levels, New Zealand have as soon as once more been Oceania’s finest aspect, however they misplaced within the inter-continental play-offs to Mexico in 2014 and Peru in 2018.

Other than New Zealand, the perimeters which can be in all probability most definitely to achieve the knockout stage are the Solomon Islands, who’re the second-highest ranked staff within the OFC, 2012 OFC Nations Cup winners Tahiti, and New Caledonia, whose membership aspect Hienghene Sport received the 2019 OFC Champions League.

However there are greater than eight international locations in Oceania. In truth, soccer globetrotter Paul Watson, who as soon as managed Micronesian island Pohnpei’s soccer staff, reckons that whereas there are eight groups collaborating in qualifying, there are at the very least that quantity who’ve been excluded.

Each Samoa and American Samoa withdrew as a result of Covid-19 journey restrictions, and Tonga continues to be recovering from a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami. A number of different groups have been unable to participate as a result of administrative issues affecting the Oceania Soccer Confederation and the problem of organizing worldwide soccer between a number of tiny islands which can be a whole bunch or hundreds of miles aside.

Despite the fact that the seven different sides will doubtless succumb to New Zealand and their European-based stars like Newcastle United’s Chris Wooden, taking part in this match in Qatar would possibly get them a bit extra recognition than ordinary and maybe presents a method to run OFC’s qualification levels sooner or later.

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