World Cup qualifying: New Zealand thrash Vanuatu to book passage
New Zealand cruised into the third round of Oceania World Cup qualifying with a 5-0 thrashing of Vanuatu in the OFC Nations Cup.
The All Whites' goals came in the first half, as coach Anthony Hudson also moved his team to the brink of a place in next week's OFC Nations Cup semifinals.
Captain Chris Wood netted twice in the opening six minutes, before Michael McGlinchey added the third in the 10th minute. Rory Fallon made it 4-0 on 19 minutes with Kosta Barbarouses, who came off the bench to replace Wood after he had suffered a shoulder injury, wrapping up the scoring before the interval.
"We are pleased," Hudson told his postmatch news conference. "Again, it is about winning and to win 5-0 with a clean sheet we are happy.
"We had a couple of knocks tonight, which is probably why we got a bit ragged out there, we had to change how we played slightly. Now it just about recovering and getting prepared for the Solomon Islands."
Hudson will now be hoping Wood is fit for the semifinals, if he chooses to rest the skipper against Solomon Islands on Saturday with a point needed to secure a place in the last four.
The other game in the group saw Fiji beat Solomon Islands 1-0 thanks to an 85th-minute penalty from Roy Krishna. Both teams should now advance to the third round of World Cup qualifying, though Fiji will be favourites to go through in the OFC Nations Cup with New Zealand as their final match is against Vanuatu.
The second round of qualifying in the Oceania region doubles as the OFC Nations Cup, taking place in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, with the winners going on to take part in next summer's Confederations Cup in Russia.
The top two in the group stage go through to the knockout rounds of the OFC Nations Cup, though this has no bearing on World Cup qualification.
All but the bottom team in the two four-nation groups advance to the third round of World Cup qualifying, which then features two three-team groups. The winner of each group meets to decide who goes through to the inter-confederation playoff against the nation that finishes fifth in the South American region.