September 12 – The Olywhites of New Zealand will represent Oceania at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris after thrashing 10-man Fiji 9-0.
In the final of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Olympic tournament, the hosts were far too strong for the island nation with Riley Bidois getting a hat-trick inside the first 20 minutes and getting two more to steer his team to an emphatic 9-0 victory.
In the 33rd minute, Fijian defender Mohammed Raheem was sent off, compounding his team’s troubles. New Zealand scored four more times after the break to wrap up the victory.
New Zealand’s U-23 team were always favourites to claim the region’s one Olympic ticket and they did so in great style, conceding just a single goal in the entire tournament.
In 2006, Australia left the OFC for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and since then, the Olywhites have never missed out on the Olympic Games except in 2016 when a player eligibility error prevented New Zealand from competing.
At the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, New Zealand progressed as runners-up from a group with South Korea, Romania, and Honduras before crashing out in the quarter-finals on penalties against the hosts.
In Paris, the tournament will be played from July 24 until July 10. As ever, the U-23 team will be allowed three over-aged players in their squads.
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