Sport Nine-team Qatar tournament to decide Oceania winner for World Cup
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Nine-team Qatar tournament to decide Oceania winner for World Cup

Nine teams from Oceania will compete in a tournament in a bid to continue their World Cup campaign. Photo: EPA
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Oceania will stage a nine-team tournament in Qatar in March to decide which team advances to an intercontinental playoff for a spot at the World Cup finals.

The winner of the March 14-30 competition will face the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF region, which features sides from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Oceania does not have an automatic place at the finals.

New Zealand was the last country from the region to qualify for the World Cup when it appeared in South Africa in 2010.

NZ missed out on a place in Russia in 2018 after losing to Peru in a playoff.

Cook Islands and Tonga will play for a slot in the group phase of the Oceania tournament, with the winner taking their place alongside New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island, Tahiti and Vanuatu.

American Samoa and Samoa withdrew due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

FIFA have granted the Oceania Football Confederation a one-day extension to the March international window, which is due to run from March 21 to 29, to allow teams to call up overseas-based players from the final round of group matches onwards.

-Reuters