It's been a pretty intense few days in the preliminary round of Oceania's Under-17 Football Championship and there has been no shortage of goals in what's been a very open tournament. Emerging victorious are the Cook Islands whose 2-1 win over host nation Samoa in the last round of matches played today in the Samoan capital city of Apia has won them through to the next stage.
Tahiti are the champions of the OFC Nations Cup for the very first time following an exciting
final against New Caledonia. Tahiti, whose previous tournament best had been three second placings
in 1973, 1980 and 1996, finally scribed their name on the trophy following Sunday's 1-0 triumph and
claimed a place in next year's FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.
The semi-final line-up of the 2012 OFC Nations Cup is now known following the completion of the
tournament's group stages yesterday.
Defending champions New Zealand have made through to the last four having topped Group B on goal
difference over fellow semi-finalists Solomon Islands. Both nations had a record of two wins and a
draw from three games but New Zealand's goal record in their wins over group opponents Fiji and
Papua New Guinea allowed them to pip the Solomon Islands, with whom they shared a 1-1 draw
yesterday, to the top of the standings.
The 2012 OFC Nations Cup will be the most important football tournament to be held in the
Oceania region for many years. As well as playing for continental glory, the competition also
doubles as the second round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The top four teams will go
on further in the World Cup qualifying process whilst a place in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup
will also await the team who triumphs in the Nations Cup final on Sunday, June 10th.
Silao Malo scored the only goal of the game as Samoa defeated their neighbours American Samoa by
one goal to nil in the final round of first stage FIFA World Cup qualification matches in the
American Samoa, a team who have become famous for suffering heavy defeats and propping up the
FIFA World Rankings in recent years, had captured the hearts and minds of many football fans with
their exploits this week.
Having been the laughing stock of world football for many years, the tiny Pacific nation of
American Samoa is just one step away from progressing beyond the first stage of 2014 FIFA World Cup
qualifying following a good start to their campaign.
Rock bottom of the FIFA World Rankings over the last few years and having failed to win a single
competitive match for 17 years, American Samoa began their first stage campaign on Tuesday by
defeating Tonga by two goals to one with Ramin Ott and Shalom Luani getting on the score sheet.
This weekend sees the beginning of a new campaign in Oceania's elite football competition, the
O-League. Having established itself as a regular feature of the football calendar since it was
rebranded with a new format in 2007, the anticipation ahead of this tournament is growing mainly
because of last season's shock victory of Papua New Guinea's PKR Hekari United FC.
Waitakere United are the defending champions in New Zealand
Having signed a new five-year deal with ASB Bank, the former New Zealand Football Championship
(NZFC) has been rebranded into the ASB Premiership starting from the 2010-11 season and it hails a
new enthusiasm for the game in this part of the world which saw its national team, the All
Whites, enjoy unprecedented success in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Lionel Messi, seen here with the 2010 award, has won FIFA's Ballon d'Or for 2012
The 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony has been held in Zurich with the undoubted star of the show once again being FC Barcelona and Argentina sensation Lionel Messi. He has picked up FIFA's top award for individual footballers for the third consecutive year since FIFA's World Player of the year and France Football's Ballon d'Or awards merged in 2010, and his fourth overall.
The FIFA Club World Cup officially got under way today with two goals just before half-time
giving Kashiwa Reysol a 2-0 win over Auckland City in the qualifying play-off to send the Japanese
club through to the quarter-finals.
Kashiwa, who clinched the 2011 J-League title last weekend, had Junya Tanaka and Masato Kudo to
thank as the pair struck in the 37thÂ and 40thÂ minutes respectively to send the host nation's
representatives into the next round.
FC Barcelona, FIFA Club World Cup champions in 2009, will face either African champions
Esperance Tunis or Asian champions Al-Sadd in the semi-finals of the 2011 edition.
The tournament, which returns to Japan this time following a two year stint in the United Arab
Emirates, will open up on December 8th with the Japanese national champions, as yet undecided,
facing off against Oceania champions Auckland City with both clubs hoping for a quarter-final
meeting with North and Central American winners Monterrey CF three days later.
The post-season Play-Offs have got under way in Australia and for Minor Premiers Brisbane Roar
the Grand Final is just 90 minutes away after enjoying a first leg win over Central Coast Mariners.
In the straight knock-out phase, played between teams finishing from third to sixth in the regular
season standings, Adelaide United and Gold Coast United saw off the challenges of Wellington
Phoenix and Melbourne Victory respectively.
The Hyundai A-League, Australia's top flight football league, has concluded its regular season
this weekend. The destiny of the Minor Premiership has been in the hands of Brisbane Roar for a few
weeks already as they walked away with the regular season title by eight points from Central Coast
Brisbane Roar are top of the Hyundai A-League at the moment
Australia's Hyundai A-League has been unusually competitive this season, mainly due to
the ineptitude of the reigning champions coupled with the inconsistency of the A-League's most
successful team since records began. Brisbane Roar, rather than Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory, are
in pole position after the Christmas schedule and with the Play-Offs soon to come Stoppage Time
International Football Blog reviews the situation with just weeks of the regular season
UEFA Champions League holders Internazionale FC of Milan are the new FIFA Club World Cup winners
having defeated surprise package TP Mazembe of Africa by a 3-0 scoreline in Abu Dhabi this evening.
Goals from Goran Pandev, Samuel Eto'o and late substitute Jonathan Biabiany sealed the deal for the
Nerazzurri and gifted coach Rafael BenÃtez with his second trophy as coach of the
Milanese giants having won the Italian Super Cup at the start of the season.
The FIFA Club World Cup final on Sunday sees European champions Internazionale of Milan face up
to their history-making African counterparts TP Mazembe from the Congolese second city of
Lubumbashi. Since coming under outright official FIFA control in 2005, the Club World Cup includes
all of the seven continental champions fighting it out to become officially theÂ world's best club
The FIFA Club World Cup began in Abu Dhabi today with host club Al-Wahda securing their berth in
the quarter-finals of the competition following a 3-0 win over underdogs Hekari United.
The tournament is being held for the second year running in the United Arab Emirates. Following
the disappointment of national representatives Al-Ahli in last year's competition, in which they
lost 2-0 to Oceania champions Auckland City, Al-Wahda were determined not to suffer the ignominy of
going out in the preliminary round and further local interest in this year's tournament.
For the second year running the FIFA Club World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates and
it looks like being yet another thrilling competition. Last year saw 2008-09 UEFA Champions League
holders FC Barcelona narrowly edge out 2009 Copa Libertadores winners Estudiantes de La Plata with
the Catalans needing extra-time to defeat their illustrious Argentinian opponents.
The Hyundai A-League saw its first major derby match between the two clubs in the second city of
Melbourne today. Melbourne Victory may have been one of the big boys since the A-League's inception
in 2005 but they haven't shown any of their usual dominance in the current season. Their opponents
Melbourne Heart are the league's newest expansion team and have shown signs that they could be a
play-off team in their inaugural season.
Problems are mounting for the defending Australian champions Sydney FC having played six games
in the 2010-11 season thus far. The club has failed to win a single game in that time and for coach
VÃtÄ›zslav LaviÄka the current run of bad form is a growing concern especially as his team had
high expectations to retain the title they won in dramatic fashion in 2009-10.
After nearly five months off the Hyundai A-League competition for 2010-11 is ready to begin this
Thursday with the league's new boys Melbourne Heart kicking off the action with a home tie against
Central Coast Mariners. Stoppage Time International Football Blog looks forward to the
action Down Under:
Australia's equivalent of the Old Firm, Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, are the favourites to
win the honours at the start of a much-anticipated new season.
Auckland City are Oceania football champions for the fourth time following a single goal second
leg victory over Tahitian side Tefana FC today which sealed a 3-1 aggregate win.
The New Zealand side were already defending the O-League trophy which they won last year and
were made to work hard over the two legs by a Tefana team who were largely unfancied at the start
of the tournament, especially after they lost their first Group A match 10-0 at the hands of
Auckland's compatriots Waitakere United.
Auckland City are beginning to make a habit out of playing in the FIFA Club World Cup. This year
will see the New Zealanders make their third appearance in the competition since 2006 following
another O-League success in 2010-11. They will face the Japanese champions in a qualifying play-off
and, if successful, will go on to play CONCACAF Champions League holders Monterrey CF in the
Whilst the UEFA Champions League continues to take centre stage in Europe as the competition
nears the end of its group phase, the equivalent tournament in the Oceania region is two rounds
into the 2011-12 O-League and, as usual, the two New Zealand representatives are setting the pace
for all of the others to follow.
The Oceania Champions League has resumed action with three matches taking place this weekend,
one less than scheduled due to the postponement of the game featuring AS Magenta and Auckland City
due to the former's stadium being deemed unsuitable to play the game. Despite this there was still
plenty of action and goals on Matchday 4 of Oceania's elite football competition.
With defending champions Hekari United missing from action this weekend due to their commitments
in the FIFA Club World Cup next week, the Oceania Champions League matchday 3 was otherwise played
out by six other teams. Stoppage Time International Football Blog looks at the latest
developments as the group phase reaches its halfway point.
The OFC Under-17 Championship final has been won by tournament hosts New Zealand for the fourth
time in the nation's history following their 2-0 winÂ against Tahiti. A 2-0 scoreline was also
sufficient for the Solomon Islands to claim third place in their play-off against Vanuatu.
Both of the goals came in the first half for New Zealand who have won the last three tournaments
all at the expense of today's opponents Tahiti.
The final of the 2011 OFC Under-17 Championship will be played out for the third consecutive
competition between New Zealand and Tahiti. Both teams qualified with a 100% record from their
groups whilst Vanuatu and Solomon Islands will fight it out for pride in the 3rd/4th play-off
which, like the final, takes place on Wednesday.
In much the same way as the CAF African U-17 Championship is taking place at the moment in
Rwanda, the Oceania version of the event also began this weekend in New Zealand. Fiji were the big
winners putting nine goals past a hapless American Samoa.
Waitakere United are dominating the ASB Premiership this season
The ASB Premiership, New Zealand's flagship football competition, is at the halfway point in the
2010-11 season and for defending champions Waitakere United the signs are currently good. Seven
games into the season and Waitakere have an eight point lead over nearest challengers Team
Wellington as they have shown the rest of the league that they are far and away the best team in
the competition at the moment.