Sunday 23 June 2019, 03:42

Tahiti qualify for fifth consecutive Beach Soccer World Cup

  • Tahiti qualify for the fifth consecutive FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

  • They defeated Solomon Islands 4-3 in the OFC Beach Soccer Nationals Cup Final

  • Beach Soccer World Cup kicks-off on 21 November 2019 in Paraguay

World beach soccer heavyweights Tahiti have qualified for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 after defeating Solomon Islands 4-3 in the final of the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup.

As two-time World Cup runners-up, Tahiti went into this match as heavy favourites but were made to work hard by Solomon Islands who were hoping to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2009.

The match

After a hard-fought first period finished scoreless, Solomon Islands took a 1-0 lead midway through the second stanza to hint at a possible upset. Tahiti though turned the match on its head with two goals in a minute to take a 2-1 lead into the final break.

The Tiki Toa then extended their lead early in the third period before some late goals from both sides saw a tense finish with Tahiti holding on to qualify for their fifth consecutive World Cup.

Heiarii Tavanae was the hero for Tahiti with two goals while Heimanu Taiarui and Patrick Tepa both scored one each. It was an emotional day for Solomon Islands captain James Naka who announced his international retirement after the final whistle.

Path to the final

Tahiti finished the tournament as undefeated champions with five wins from five matches. The Tiki Toa defeated Vanuatu, Tonga, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia in the group stage, scoring 52 goals while only conceding 9. Solomon Islands themselves had a strong tournament with their only two losses both coming against Tahiti.

The Tournament

The OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup returned in 2019 after a six-year hiatus. Held in Tahiti, the tournament featured New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga and Tahiti battling it out for the right to represent Oceania at Paraguay 2019. New Caledonia finished in third-place as they defeated Vanuatu 8-7 in extra time of the third-place play-off.