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New Caledozen

New Zealand 12, New Caledonia 0
Ngahue Reserve, Auckland, July 17 2017

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I like to take a mid-winter break, of about a week to ten days, from work every July to coincide with my partner and my Civil Union anniversary. It’s a good way for us to spend some quality time together and it’s something to look forward to during the long stint of the year between Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day when there are no other long weekends.

Gina puts up with a lot when it comes to my football blogging obsession. She’s never once put her foot down when I’ve announced that I’m going to two or three games in one weekend or when we can’t do anything she wants to do on a particular day because I want to go on a ridiculous road trip to goodness knows where for some obscure game few other people on the planet care much about!

When we both booked our annual leave from work this year, back in February, I had no idea it would coincide with the Oceania Women’s Under 19 Championships in our fair city. When I saw the fixtures, I was happy that I would be able to go to three of the five match days that fall during the working week. And, true to form, Gina barely batted an eyelid when I broke the news that I had quite a lot of football to attend on our so-called break…

I am a very lucky guy.

Last Friday I had good cause to wonder why the hell I was standing on a wet, miserable, exposed wind tunnel on one of the coldest days of the year when I could be at home watching DVDs with Gina. But yesterday it was comparatively tropical and a very pleasant afternoon to be out in the fresh air watching people in white football kits with black ferns on them score goals almost for fun!

Even if some of the players from countries with much warmer climates than ours were still wearing gloves on the pitch, for us it was sweatshirt weather rather than ski suit weather at the Oceania Football Confederation’s ‘Home of Football’.

The healthy little crowd in attendance were rewarded with an easy win for New Zealand, but despite the Ferns hitting double figures it still wasn’t as comprehensive as the gap in quality probably suggests.

Like the Fiji game on Friday, it wasn’t really a contest where I could get photos of both sides attacking. New Zealand dominated possession to say the least as every time New Caledonia got the ball they reasonably promptly lost it again.

Rather than bore both you and myself by describing all the goals, it’s probably easiest if I embed the highlights video and you can see them all for yourself!

Now boasting three big wins from three fixtures, the Ferns are officially winning this tournament in a canter – if it was ever in doubt that they would. They can wrap it all up on Friday against Samoa if Papua New Guinea gets fewer than three points against a Fijian side that gave the Ferns a slightly tougher game than PNG did. That’s assuming that goal difference is the tie breaker rather than head to head. If it’s the latter then a win on Friday is all the Young Ferns need regardless of other results.

I’ll be back at 10am on Friday for the New Zealand game at least. I’m sorely tempted to stay all day and watch the 3pm PNG game as well but that might just be pushing things a little bit too far…

Categories: Football Ferns

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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