OFC Nations Cup

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OFC Nations Cup
Founded 1996
1973 (inaugural season)
Region Oceania (OFC)
Number of teams 8
Related competitions FIFA Confederations Cup
Current champions French Polynesia Tahiti (1st title)
Most successful team(s) Australia Australia
New Zealand New Zealand
(4 titles each)
Website [1]
2016 OFC Nations Cup

The OFC Nations Cup is an international association football tournament held among the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) member nations. It was held every two years from 1996 to 2004; before 1996 there were two other tournaments held at irregular intervals, under the name Oceania Nations Cup. No competition was held in 2006, but in the 2008 edition, which also acted as a qualification tournament for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and for a play-off for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the New Zealand national football team emerged as winners.

Historically, a very large gulf separated Australia and New Zealand from the smaller island competitors, and little attention was paid to the tournament by the rest of the football world. In fact, after the first eight editions the trophy had been won only by two teams: Australia and New Zealand. In the 2012 OFC Nations Cup, Tahiti became the first team other than Australia and New Zealand to be crowned Oceania champions.

Australia ceased to be a member of the OFC on January 1, 2006, having elected to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and hence no longer participate in the tournament.


Early Times (1973–1980)

This tournament began in 1973 as the "Oceania Cup". This first edition, played in New Zealand, without qualifying round, was won by the host in the final match played in Auckland against Tahiti, with the result of 2–0, and was characterized by the absence of the Australian team and the presence of some teams not members of FIFA, such as New Hebrides, which became Vanuatu after gaining independence in 1980.

A second edition of the Oceania Cup took place in 1980 in New Caledonia, at that time not a FIFA member, and was won by Australia in the final match played in Nouméa against Tahiti, with the result of 4–2, and was characterized by a poor result for New Zealand: out in the Group Stage losing against Tahiti (3–1) and Fiji (4–0), however two years after they qualified for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. These two editions were the only without qualifying rounds. After this edition the tournament was discontinued. So Australia maintained the Oceania Champion title for 16 years without play any tournament. Between the years of absence (1981–1995) the most important Oceanian tournament was the Trans-Tasman Cup played only between Australia and New Zealand.

Return Every Two Years (1996–2004)

In 1996, when OFC reached the official status of Confederation for FIFA, the tournament reappeared as the "Oceania Nations Cup" and served as a qualifier for the Confederations Cup. The 1996 edition, without an host nation but for the first time with a qualifying round, was contested with only four teams playing semifinals and final match on two legs both: Australia and New Zealand, who played the semifinal also for the Trans-Tasman Cup, and the second semifinal match between Tahiti as Polynesia Cup holders and Solomon Islands as Melanesia Cup holders. The Cup was won for the second time by the Australian side winning easily in the final match, on two legs, against Tahiti (6–0 and 5–0). The topscorer of this tournament, Kris Trajanovski, scored all his seven goals in the final match: four on the first leg in Papeete (Tahiti) and three on the second leg in Canberra (Australia). Thanks to this result, this Australian team, managed by the English Terry Venables and not by the Scottish Oceania Champion Eddie Thomson, took part to the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia, finishind second losing the final match against Brazil.

In the 1998 edition, played in Australia, six teams took part, dominated by giants Australia and New Zealand: in the final match, played in Brisbane, New Zealand beat the host Australia 1–0 with a goal by Mark Burton. In this edition the Australian player Damian Mori scored 10 goals, a record still alive today. He is also the overall Oceania Nations Cup top scorer with 14 goals, scored in three editions: one in 1996, ten in 1998 and three in 2002.

The fifth edition, played in Tahiti in 2000, the tournament structure was confirmed and yet again the tournament was dominated by Australia and New Zealand who reached the final match in Papeete. Australia won their third title by a score of 2–0, qualifying for the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Fiji, who qualified for this edition, was forced to withdraw due to civil war and was replaced by Vanuatu, who impressed in the semifinal against Australia: the Socceroos, managed by Frank Farina, won 1–0 thanks only to a penalty kick by Kevin Muscat. Two years later the Australian team finished third in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Korea and Japan.

For the 2002 edition, played for the second time in New Zealand, eight teams participated, divided into two groups easily won by Australia and New Zealand. This set up their third consecutive final match. The Australian side won the semifinal against a brave Tahiti only after extra time. Soccer Australia was involved in financial problems: the non-existent financial contribution meant that the Australian players had to pay their own way to get to New Zealand, so Scott Chipperfield became the only one of Australia's large European contingent to answer the call and perform for his country in their time of need, resulting in a weak team for the tournament. So the final was won for the third time by the All Whites beating their historical rivals 1–0 in Auckland with a late Ryan Nelsen goal.

In the 2004 edition, which served also as the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification and was played in Australia, six nations took part playing each other in a unique group, with the first two playing a final match in two legs. During the group stage Vanuatu surprisingly beat New Zealand 4–2, but lost all their remaining matches. This and a draw with Australia (2–2) allowed Solomon Islands to claim second place and a berth in the final match against Australia. In the final, the Solomon Islands were beaten 5–1 on their home ground Honiara and 6–0 in Sydney. Moreover, this was the first, and until today the only time that a coach, Frank Farina, has won the Oceania Nations Cup trophy twice. Two years later, managed by Dutchman Guus Hiddink and composed of many 2004 Oceania Nations Cup scorers such as Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, Mark Bresciano, Brett Emerton, John Aloisi, Australia reached the Second Round of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. However, this was the fourth and last OFC title for Australia: in 2006 they decided to join AFC, changing considerably the Oceania football scene.

A New Era (2006-Today)

Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation on 1 January 2006, ceasing to be a member of OFC, leaving New Zealand as the only major power in the OFC. The 2007 South Pacific Games, won by New Caledonia, served as a qualifying round for the three lowest ranked teams in the OFC, with the winners qualifying for the 2008 OFC Nations Cup. The 2008 OFC Nations Cup was played without a fixed venue and with four teams playing each other at home and away in one group. The tournament also served as part of the OFC's qualifying competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. New Zealand emerged easily as winners for the fourth time ahead of New Caledonia, winning five matches of six. Surprisingly, Fiji won the last match against New Zealand in Lautoka (Fiji) for 2–0 with two goals of Roy Krishna. The top-scorer Shane Smeltz (New Zealand) scored eight goals: four against the runners up New Caledonia beaten 3–1 away and 3–0 at home.

In the 2012 edition of the tournament, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tahiti, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa (winner of the qualifying tournament) competed in the competition in two groups of four teams, with the top two in each group qualifying for the semi-finals. After 9 days, Tahiti and New Caledonia reached the final in Lawson Tama Stadium with Tahiti winning 1–0 with a goal from Steevy Chong Hue. With this, Tahiti became the first team other than Australia (no longer part of OFC) and New Zealand to be crowned Oceania champions. The tournament also served as part of the OFC's qualifying competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.


The first two editions were played without any qualifying rounds. For the successive three tournaments, Australia and New Zealand were seeded into the tournament automatically, while the remaining ten nations played to qualify. The Polynesian and Melanesian Cups, each played between five nations grouped on a geographical basis, served as qualifications via a round-robin tournament, with the highest ranked two teams in each competition qualifying for the actual OFC Nations Cup.

With the postponement and then cancellation of the Melanesian Cup, and a similar fate befalling its Polynesian equivalent, the format of the tournament changed in 2002. FIFA rankings determined the seedings of all twelve teams, and the lower six teams played a group stage for two qualifier positions into the main tournament. The 2002 Cup tournament proper was played with two groups of four teams (again in round-robin style), which led into a 4-way knockout stage, playing for the top four positions.

In 2004, the format changed once again, returning to a format similar to that of the 19962000 tournaments, with five teams each playing in two qualifying groups and Australia and New Zealand seeded to the actual tournament, played as a group stage of six, with a home and away Final played between the two highest-placed teams. This tournament doubled also as qualifying round for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

For the 2008 tournament, the format altered again. The 2007 South Pacific Games football tournament served as a qualification tournament, with the gold, silver and bronze winning nations progressing to the main, round-robin format, tournament, for which New Zealand qualified automatically. New Zealand emerged as winners of the 2008 OFC Nations Cup, ahead of New Caledonia, and thus qualified for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and a playoff with the fifth placed team from the AFC for a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.



Year Host Final Third Place Match
Winner Score Runner-up 3rd Place Score 4th Place
1973  New Zealand
New Zealand

New Caledonia
New Hebrides
1980  New Caledonia

New Caledonia
1996 No host


New Zealand

Solomon Islands
No playoff
1998  Australia
New Zealand

2000  Tahiti
New Zealand

Solomon Islands
2002  New Zealand
New Zealand

2004  Australia[2]

Solomon Islands

New Zealand
Round robin
2008 No host
New Zealand
Round robin
New Caledonia

Round robin
2012  Solomon Islands
New Caledonia

New Zealand
Solomon Islands
2016  Papua New Guinea

Teams reaching the top four

Team Champions Runners-up Third-place Fourth-place
 Australia1 4 (1980, 1996, 2000, 2004) 2 (1998, 2002)
 New Zealand 4 (1973, 1998, 2002, 2008) 1 (2000) 3 (1996, 2004, 2012)
 Tahiti 1 (2012) 3 (1973, 1980, 1996) 1 (2002) 1 (1998)
 New Caledonia 2 (2008, 2012) 2 (1973, 1980)
 Solomon Islands 1 (2004) 2 (1996, 2000) 1 (2012)
 Fiji 2 (1998, 2008) 2 (1980, 2004)
 Vanuatu 4 (1973^, 2000, 2002, 2008)

^ This 1973 fourth place was achieved by Vanuatu under its former name New Hebrides.
1 Australia left the OFC in 2006 and became a full member of the Asian Football Confederation.

Total hosts

Time(s) Nation Year(s)
2  Australia 1998, 2004
2  New Zealand 1973, 2002
1  Tahiti 2000
1  New Caledonia 1980
1  Solomon Islands 2012
1  Papua New Guinea 2016
2 No Host 1996, 2008

Performances by host nations

Year Host nation Finish
1973  New Zealand Champions
1980  New Caledonia Third Place
1996 No Host
1998  Australia Second Place
2000  Tahiti Group Stage
2002  New Zealand Champions
2004  Australia Champions
2008 No Host
2012  Solomon Islands Fourth Place
2016  Papua New Guinea

OFC Nations Cup winning managers

Year Head coach Champions
1973 New Zealand Barrie Truman  New Zealand
1980 West Germany Rudi Gutendorf  Australia
1996 Scotland Eddie Thomson  Australia
1998 New Zealand Ken Dugdale  New Zealand
2000 Australia Frank Farina  Australia
2002 England Mick Waitt  New Zealand
2004 Australia Frank Farina  Australia
2008 New Zealand Ricki Herbert  New Zealand
2012 French Polynesia Eddy Etaeta  Tahiti

Records and statistics

Participation details

Team New Zealand
New Caledonia
1996 Australia
French Polynesia
New Zealand
2008 Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea
 New Zealand 1st 1R SF 1st 2nd 1st 3rd 1st 3rd Q 10
 Tahiti 2nd 2nd 2nd 4th 1R 3rd 5th DNQ 1st Q 9
 Vanuatu1 4th 1R DNQ 1R 4th 4th 6th 4th 1R Q 9
 Fiji 5th 4th DNQ 3rd QW 1R 4th 3rd 1R Q 8
 Solomon Islands 1R SF DNQ 3rd 1R 2nd DNQ 4th Q 7
 Australia 1st 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 6
 New Caledonia 3rd 3rd DNQ DNQ DNQ 1R DNQ 2nd 2nd Q 6
 Papua New Guinea 1R DNQ DNQ DNQ 1R DNQ DSQ 1R Q 4
 Cook Islands 1R 1R DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 2
 Tuvalu DNQ 0
 Kiribati 0
 F.S. Micronesia 0
 Niue 0
 Palau 0
  • 1st – Champions
  • 2nd – Runners-up
  • 3rd – Third place
  • 4th – Fourth place
  • 5th – Fifth Place
  • 6th – Sixth Place
  • SF – Semifinals
  • 1R – First Round
  • Q – Qualified for an upcoming tournament
  • DNQ – Did not qualify
  • DSQ – Disqualified
  • QW – Qualified but then withdrew
  • 1: Includes results as New Hebrides.
  • 2: Includes results as Western Samoa.

General statistics

Up to and including 2012.

Team P W D L GF GA GDif
 New Zealand 39 28 3 8 100 38 +62
 Australia 28 24 2 2 142 13 +129
 Tahiti 34 17 3 14 73 78 −5
 New Caledonia 23 11 2 10 56 49 +7
 Fiji 29 8 4 17 35 61 −26
 Vanuatu 33 7 2 24 38 77 −39
 Solomon Islands 24 6 4 14 29 66 −37
 Papua New Guinea 9 1 2 6 10 38 −28
 Samoa 3 0 0 3 1 24 −23
 Cook Islands 4 0 0 4 1 41 −40

Overall top goalscorers

Goals Scorers
14 Australia Damian Mori
11 Australia Kris Trajanovski
10 New Zealand Shane Smeltz
9 New Zealand Vaughan Coveny
7 New Zealand Chris Killen, Solomon Islands Commins Menapi

Top goalscorers per tournament

Year Player Goals
1973 New Caledonia Segin Wayewol
New Zealand Alan Marley
French Polynesia Erroll Bennett
1980 Australia Ian Hunter
Australia Eddie Krnčević
1996 Australia Kris Trajanovski 7
1998 Australia Damian Mori 10
2000 Australia Craig Foster
Australia Clayton Zane
2002 Australia Joel Porter 6
2004 Australia Tim Cahill
New Zealand Vaughan Coveny
2008 New Zealand Shane Smeltz 8
2012 New Caledonia Jacques Haeko 6


External links