Unfortunately, yesterday’s match did not offer a good show as neither team wanted to play and win to avoid being in the semi-finals against New Zealand who have already qualified.
We remind you that the two playing teams: Fiji and Tahiti automatically qualified for the quarter-finals after leaving Papua New Guinea and defeating Tonga.
The only way for one of the two teams – if they subsequently win the quarter-final – to not run the risk of meeting New Zealand in the semi-final (assuming, of course, that New Zealand also win the quarter-final) was to lose the match.
Unfortunately, a 0-0 draw saw Tahiti finish first in Group B, meaning they could face New Zealand if they win the quarter-finals. “We are sorry for the spectacle because we saw on the field that the Fijians did not want to play the New Zealanders as well, so they refused the match. It was a very difficult decision to ask my players to refuse the match. We’re through to the quarter-finals, so we’ll continue on Sunday. The competition continues. Knowing that, it is certain for us to face New Zealand in the semi-finals. But let’s think about the quarter-finals first. (…) We have to re-motivate the players. It is true that what we did tonight is shameful. I’m not afraid to say it and I take responsibility for it. We didn’t show the real football of this team” declared Bruno Tehaamoana, Aito taure’a coach at the end of the match.
Tahiti will face either Vanuatu or the Cook Islands in the quarter-finals this Sunday, September 18 from 8pm. Fiji face Samoa on the same day, avoiding the New Zealanders on their way.
The U-19 Championship match schedule can be found HERE
The schedule of matches on your channel can be found HERE