Soccer: Football Ferns book London ticket in style

Rosie White. Photo / Getty Images.
Rosie White. Photo / Getty Images.

The Football Ferns have beaten Papua New Guinea 7-0 in Port Moresby today to qualify for the London Olympics with an emphatic 15-0 aggregate win in the two-legged Oceania Women's Olympic Qualifier Final.

After Saturday's 8-0 win in Whangarei, it would have been easy for New Zealand to let their foot off the pedal but they were 4-0 up at halftime thanks to goals from Hayley Moorwood, Sarah Gregorius, Hannah Wilkinson and an own goal.

The onslaught didn't let up in the second half with Anna Green curling a corner straight into the top far corner, Betsy Hassett drilling a low shot from the edge of the area and Gregorius slotting a penalty to complete the rout.

"We knew after the first leg that the job was pretty much done but we couldn't celebrate until you actually book your ticket," said New Zealand coach Tony Readings.

"We've done that now and the girls were really professional in their approach over the two games.

"The players are never satisfied and are looking to improve with every game. The conditions were tough but they kept pushing until the end. I don't think we could've got anything more out of the squad over the two matches."

Readings rested regular captain Rebecca Smith, and kept another three European-based professionals on the bench as he ran the rule over other players in contention for a final 18 player Olympic squad.

Their final selection for the New Zealand Olympic Team, like that of the Oly Whites who have also qualified, still needs to be ratified by the New Zealand Olympic Committee, but New Zealand coach Tony Readings is confident they have done all they can on the field to put their case.

"We know that since the start of the year we've done all that we can. We've gone to the USA and put in two fantastic performances against the World number one, gone through the Cyprus Cup unbeaten then done everything that was asked of us in these two games against Papua New Guinea.

"We're really happy with ourselves and hope the decision goes our way but we're confident we've shown that we will be more than competitive at the Olympics."

If selected, the Football Ferns will join USA, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, North Korea, Cameroon, South Africa, France, Sweden and hosts Great Britain in the 12 nation women's finals.

- Herald Online

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