The four Oceania nations still in the running for a place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil now know the path they must take to get there after the conducting of the official draw for the Oceanian Zone Stage 3 Qualifiers this week.New Caledonia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tahiti all qualified for the third stage after making the semi-finals of the OFC Nations Cup, a tournament held from June 1-10 in Honiara, Solomon Islands, that doubled as Stage 2 of World Cup qualifying.
Stage 3 will consist of a round-robin home-and-away play-off series based on a league system and the winner will advance to the inter-continental play-off against the fourth-placed CONCACAF nation, scheduled to be held in October/November 2013, for a berth at Brazil 2014.
The draw was conducted at OFC Headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand, by OFC Executive Committee members Lambert Maltock, Toetu Petana and Fred de Jong in the presence of members of the OFC General Secretariat.
The action will be intriguing from the opening round after the draw threw up a repeat of the Nations Cup semi-final fixtures. Solomon Islands and New Zealand will have the chance to exact some revenge when they host Tahiti and travel to New Caledonia respectively with both games set to take place on 7 September 2012.
The other match days are scheduled for the FIFA windows of 11 September 2012, 12 October 2012, 16 October 2012, 22 March 2013 and 26 March 2013.
A highlight is sure to be a pair of double-headers across the match days of three and four which will see Tahiti and New Zealand meeting each other home and away and Solomon Islands and New Caledonia doing likewise over a five-day period.
The final round on match day six is also likely to be of much significance and will bring a pair of mouth-watering clashes with Solomon Islands and New Zealand - who fought out two thrilling matches at the Nations Cup - set to meet and New Caledonia and Tahiti in line for another installment of their great rivalry.
OFC will now work with the respective member associations to confirm further match details such as kick-off times and venues and this information will be released in due course.
The other countries that attempted to qualify for Stage 3 at the Nations Cup were Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu but their Brazil 2014 dreams are now over after their failure to make the top four in Honiara.
Stage 1 took place last November in Apia, Samoa, and resulted in the hosts qualifying for the Nations Cup by holding off the challenges of American Samoa, Cook Islands and Tonga.
Oceanian Zone Stage 3 Qualifiers 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilT
Match Day 1
Friday 7 September, 2012
Solomon Islands v Tahiti
New Caledonia v New Zealand
Match Day 2
Tuesday 11 September, 2012
Tahiti v New Caledonia
New Zealand v Solomon Islands
Match Day 3
Friday 12 October, 2012
Tahiti v New Zealand
Solomon Islands v New Caledonia
Match Day 4
Tuesday 16 October, 2012
New Zealand v Tahiti
New Caledonia v Solomon Islands
Match Day 5
Friday 22 March, 2013
Tahiti v Solomon Islands
New Zealand v New Caledonia
Match Day 6
Tuesday 26 March, 2013
Solomon Islands v New Zealand
New Caledonia v Tahiti