Fiji, Sol. Islands progress in World Cup qualifiers
APIA, Samoa, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Fiji and the Solomon Islands progressed to the last four of the first stage of the Oceania region's World Cup qualifiers after winning their respective matches on Saturday.
It was a third successive win for both teams as Fiji overcame Tahiti 4-0 and the Solomon Islands scored two goals in four minutes midway through the second half to beat Vanuatu 2-0. Both matches were played in Apia, Samoa.
Fiji join New Caledonia as the qualifiers from Group A for the semi-finals of the South Pacific Games while the Solomon Islands move ahead from Group B.
Hosts Samoa, who did not play on Saturday, Vanuatu and Tonga all still have a chance to clinch the last semi-final berth when they play on Monday.
Tonga won their first points with a 4-0 triumph on Saturday over American Samoa, who ended their participation after conceding 38 goals in their four matches.
American Samoa are the first of the 203 countries participating in the World Cup preliminaries to be eliminated from the running for a place in the finals in South Africa.
They were followed on Saturday by the Cook Islands, who are also out of the competition despite beating Tuvalu 4-1. Tuvalu finish bottom of the Group B standings but were not in World Cup contention as the tiny island nation is not a FIFA member.
Tahiti can also no longer progress in the qualifiers.
The football tournament at the South Pacific Games is being used by the Oceania Football Confederation as the first stage of its 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
The three medal winners at the games advance to the next stage, a group competition along with New Zealand, that kicks off in October.