WORLD CUP QUALIFYING - OFC

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FT

New Zealand

  • Ivan Vicelich 33'
  • Shane Smeltz 86'

Fiji 0-2 New Zealand: All Whites hit form

BRISBANE, Australia, Oct 17 (Reuters) - New Zealand secured a 2-0 away win over Fiji in the opening match of the Oceania

region's final qualifying pool for the 2010 World Cup on Wednesday.

The All Whites opened the scoring in the first half with an

Ivan Vicelich strike before sealing victory in Lautoka with a

late individual effort from forward Shane Smeltz.

The match, played on a bumpy surface at Churchill Park

doubled as a qualifier for the Confederations Cup.

As expected, the home side started with their first-choice

keeper Simione Tamanisau, the player denied a visa by the New

Zealand government under sanctions introduced following last

December's coup in Fiji.

Tamanisau's absence from the squad when they arrived in

Auckland last week led to world governing body FIFA postponing

what was to have been the opening match at North Harbour

Stadium on Saturday.

His visa was denied after Wellington said the player's

father-in-law was in Fiji's military forces.

New Zealand's next two qualifying matches are against

Vanuatu, in Port Vila on Nov. 17 and in Wellington four days

later.

New Caledonia are the other nation in the four-team group,

with the winner advancing to a playoff against Asia's

fifth-ranked qualifier for a place at the 2010 finals in South

Africa.

The postponed encounter with Fiji is expected to be staged

at a neutral venue next year.

Scoring Summary

  • Fiji
  • New Zealand