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All Whites to face New Caledonia in semis

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/06/2016

New Zealand are confident history won't repeat when they face New Caledonia in the semi-finals of the Nations Cup in Port Moresby.

The unbeaten All Whites learned their pathway in the knockout phase of the tournament when pool play finished on Saturday.

New Caledonia were second in pool A after drawing 1-1 with third-placed Tahiti while Papua New Guinea dramatically leap-frogged both teams to top the pool with an 8-0 drubbing of Samoa. Defending champions Tahiti were eliminated on goal differential.

New Zealand will face New Caledonia in the first semi-final at Sir John Guise Stadium on Wednesday, followed by Papua New Guinea against the Solomon Islands.

At the last Nations Cup four years ago, the favoured All Whites were stunned 2-0 by New Caledonia in the semi-finals, a result which denied them a place at the lucrative Confederations Cup.

The same prize awaits the winners of Saturday's final.

New Zealand are favourites to reach the decider, having won all three of their pool games while New Caledonia notched one win and two draws.

Midfielder Michael McGlinchey, who was part of the failed 2012 campaign in Honiara, says every measure has been taken to ensure there won't be a repeat.

"We're very organised this time around. Everybody knows their roles and we are well drilled which should stand us in good stead," he said.

Wellington Phoenix attacker McGlinchey says the tight 1-0 win over Solomon Islands on Saturday was ideal as it reminded the All Whites the knockout phase will be a challenge.

With McGlinchey standing in as captain in place of the injured Chris Wood, they secured victory with a late goal to defender Luke Adams.

"It was important to get that third win and we will now go into the semi-finals with a lot of momentum. The boys are all confident so were in a good position at the moment," McGlinchey said.

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