New Zealand have made history today by claiming the bronze medal at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after defeating Canada 2-1 at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo.
Leon Birnie’s side became the first New Zealand team to claim a medal at any FIFA tournament.
New Zealand got off to a fantastic start when they scored twice in the opening 13 minutes through a Grace Wisnweksi double, but Canada got within striking distance when Lara Kazandjian scored a stunning solo goal in the second half and New Zealand held on for a historic win. Birnie said the bronze medal capped off an incredible tournament for his young team.
“Who would have thought?” said Birnie following the game. “We came over here and we had a dream to get out of the group. We made history by doing that and then got into the semi-finals and created more history and now we have just got a bronze medal in a World Cup. How good are these players? Great performance. The first half we were really good and the second half was just pure determination and hanging in there to get that medal.”
Birnie thanked everyone who had supported them on their dream run at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.
“We have a few big thanks to make. To all the staff over here, the players, the families and friends who are over here we have had an amazing month. Everyone back home and the support from the football community and media, we appreciate it.”
Captain Aneka Mittendorff said it was a special moment for her team after an incredible tournament.
“It feels fantastic,” she said. “We did it, we came third. It is so surreal. We are going to celebrate this win all night long.”
The next generation of Football Ferns got off to a perfect start in the windy and fine conditions when Wisnewski scored the fastest goal in the history of the tournament. New Zealand pressed high up the pitch and Canada tried to do too much deep in their own half. Maggie Jenkins turned the ball over and it fell for Wisnewski to tuck home a good finish home at the near post in 16 seconds. Wisnewski’s quick-fire goal broke the record of Nigeria’s Soo Adekwagh who scored in 22 seconds on 30 October 2008.
There was more to come from the Oceania champions when Wisnewski doubled the lead in the 12th minute. Amelia Abbott linked with Jenkins who put forward a great through-ball. Wisnewksi showed great composure on the ball and hit a powerful shot to defeat the Canadian keeper Anna Karpenko.
The New Zealand team, who defeated Canada 2-1 in the lead-up to the tournament, were off to the perfect start and in control in the bronze medal match.
Canada came back into the match and with a strong wind at their back, dominated possession in the first half with 62 percent of the ball. But it did not faze the Kiwi team who defended staunchly at the back. Leat, the Player of the Match in that historic quarterfinal win over Japan, again showed great composure when she when came off her line to deny Canadian captain Jordyn Huitema. Leat had another superb match in goal and New Zealand held a 2-0 at the break.
The Kiwis had a chance to put the game to bed early in the second half when an opportunity fell for Wisnewski in the 56th minute. The 16-year-old from the Hamilton Wanderers came within inches of securing her hat-trick when her left foot shot from close range ricocheted off the left post.
Soon after, Canada came back into the match when Kazandjian scored in spectacular fashion. The midfielder dragged the ball onto her favoured left foot and hammered home past Leat in goal.
That goal gave Canada huge confidence and they poured forward time and time again in the final 20 minutes. Captain Huitema, Caitlin Shaw and Jayde Riviere all had chances but the Kiwis – led by Hannah Mackay-Wright, Mittendorff and Leat in goal - defended like their lives depended on it and kept them out.
History was made. New Zealand were medallists for the first time at a FIFA tournament.
New Zealand 2 (Grace Wisnewski 1’, 13’)
Canada 1 (Lara Kazandjian 64’)
New Zealand: 1. Anna Leat (GK), 2. Mackenzie Barry, 3. Hannah Mackay-Wright, 4. Aneka Mittendorff, 5. Marisa Van Der Meer, 6. Macey Fraser (16. Maya Hahn 55’), 7. Gabi Rennie (13. Britney Cunningham-Lee 74’), 8. Amelia Abbott (18. Rose Luxton 83’), 9. Maggie Jenkins, 10. Grace Wisnewski, 11. Kelli Brown
Substitutes not used: 12. Jayda Stewart, 14. Laney Strachan, 15. Genevieve Ryan, 17. Ayla Pratt, 19. Arabella Maynard, 20. Georgia Candy (GK), 21. Blair Currie (GK)
Coach: Leon Birnie
It was a massive year for the "beautiful game" in New Zealand with the New Zealand U17 girls creating history by making the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup for the first time. There was a new National champion crowned in NZSS girls football and a familiar winner in the boys competition.
Four boys and four girls we have followed this year are below. Vote in our poll at the bottom for your favourite player.
Hannah Blake (Saint Kentigern College) - The College Sport Auckland athlete of the year helped her First XI win the Auckland Premiership title - St Kent’s outscoring all opponents 40-12 throughout the season. The Three Kings United Forward was also selected for the New Zealand U20’s who competed at the FIFA World Cup. Blake was a standout earning 233 minutes of playing time and scoring one of the goals of the tournament against the Dutch. Blake is a prolific goal scorer and proven leader.
Liberato Cacace (St Patrick’s College, Wellington) - On 2 February 2018, Cacace became the youngest player to appear for the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League, coming on as a substitute in a 4–0 defeat against Sydney FC. Cacace quickly established himself as a regular, appearing in seven games in the 2017-18 season and beginning the 2018-19 season in the starting line-up. Additionally Cacace was the first All White born in the 2000’s. The 17-year old was selected for the Intercontinental Cup where he started in wins against Chinese Taipei (1-0) and India (2-1) - the later nation ranked 23 places above New Zealand in the FIFA world rankings. On November 4, Cacace was announced as the College Sport Wellington Sportsman of the year.
Thomas Golding (Mount Albert Grammar School) - The attacking midfielder had a great Nationals taking MAGS all the way to final, scoring a double in the semi-final win over Auckland champions Saint Kentigern College. Despite falling short in the final Golding was snapped up by Waitakere United coach Martin Rodwell for the National Youth League. Golding has been left out of the Auckland City team which he was a member of in 2017.
Ryan Kelly (Hutt Valley High School) - Another Wellington based player who had a great year, beginning with selection in the New Zealand U19 Secondary Schools team for their tour to the United States. Kelly then played for Hutt Valley High School bringing up his 50th cap for the school while also starting in the Men’s Central League for Lower Hutt. In October, Kelly was a member of the Lower Hutt U19 team that won the Bob Bamford National Memorial Tournament. His form in that tourney earned selection for the Team Wellington Youth squad where he has shined, scoring in all but one game this year.
Anna Leat (Rangitoto College) - The goalkeeper who debuted for the Football Ferns in 2017 showed again she belongs on the world stage with a memorable display at the FIFA U17 World Championships. After keeping a clean sheet to help New Zealand to victory over Finland in pool play, Leat then saved two penalties and kicked the winning penalty in the dramatic win over Japan in the quarter-finals. Leat is a member of the New Zealand high performance set up.
Aneka Mittendorff (Westlake Girls’ High School) - The Westlake Girls’ High School student is the captain of the Young Football Ferns who created history at the FIFA U17 World Cup by reaching the semi-finals for the first time. New Zealand, who’d previously never gone beyond the group stage, rallied from behind to topple Uruguay and then stunned 2016 runners up Japan on penalties in the quarter final. Mittendorff plays in the midfield where her work ethic and superior skill has driven those around her to unimaginable heights.
Rose Morton (Northcote College) - The Hawke’s Bay Secondary Schools Sportswoman of the Year actually attends high school in Auckland where she is one of 28 players involved in the Football Ferns Development Program who compete in the Northern Football Federation 17th grade boys conference. The central midfielder is the first Hawke's Bay footballer to play in two world championships in the same year, representing New Zealand in both the FIFA Under-17 and 20 tournaments. Rose’s older sister Sarah Morton debuted for the Football Ferns this year.
Declan Viljoen (Sacred Heart College) - The Year 11 goalkeeper produced one of the great displays by a relative rookie at the Nationals when he only conceded one goal in seven game in Sacred Heart’s triumph. In the semi-final, Sacred Heart faced elimination with the last kick of the game against St Pat’s Town when Town stepped forward to take a penalty. However Viljoen thwarted the shot and then made an additional three saves in the penalty shoot out to propel Sacred Heart in the final where he didn’t concede. Kingsley Sinclair was player of the year.
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates many of the leading athletes and teams in each that College Sport Media has followed this year. Preference has gone to those individuals/teams that CSM has interviewed and profiled in 2018. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
A historic first-ever place in a final is now off the cards for New Zealand but they still have much to play for after a 2-0 loss to Spain in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay. Coach Leon Birnie and his ground-breaking side will now look to become the first national team from their country to earn a medal when they take part in the play-off for third on Sunday morning (NZT).
Despite their semi-final defeat, New Zealand will take plenty of confidence into that encounter after again proving they belong at the very highest level with a strong showing at a rain-soaked Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo this morning (NZT).
“We knew today was going to be challenging but, in that first half especially, we really took it to them,” Birnie said.
“There were long periods of that game where we had them camped in their half and we hit the crossbar. But we then switched off for their first goal and that was an absolute killer. They then showed their class with a great strike in the second half and it was always going to be difficult to come back from two-nil down,” he added.
“But I’m so proud of the players, they tried everything they could until that final whistle and it’s been a fantastic tournament – it’s an amazing moment for football in our country.”
With the exception of fielding a fresh-look side in their final group game against Ghana, Birnie has retained a very settled starting line-up throughout the tournament and again kept faith with the group of players who have made history for their country, making no changes from the quarter-final win over Japan.
There was no doubt they were coming up against one of the best sides in the world with Spain having won their European qualification and scoring 11 goals on their path to the semi-finals in Uruguay, conceding just two.
But New Zealand had already beaten some top-class opponents on their own remarkable march to the final four so were not going to be overawed by the classy Spanish and showed they were more than capable of causing another upset in a tight first half.
As expected due to their possession-based style, Spain enjoyed much of the ball but New Zealand pressed forward at every opportunity and actually had the better of the sights on goal. They enjoyed a good spell of pressure around the 15-minute mark before Kelli Brown tried her luck from distance but was a long way out and her looping effort dropped just wide of the top corner.
Despite all their possession, Spain were struggling to create anything going forward, thanks largely to several vital interventions from New Zealand’s inspirational captain Aneka Mittendorff. When the next good chance did arrive, it again went the way of the Oceania champions in the 26th minute, Gabi Rennie being played in down the right by Amelia Abbott but her shot from a tight angle couldn’t beat Spain goalkeeper Catalina Coll at her near post.
Just a few minutes later, New Zealand went even closer to opening the scoring when Coll got the faintest of touches to a perfectly-placed strike from Macey Fraser and it bounced agonisingly off the crossbar. It wasn’t until the 34th minute that Spain came anywhere near to a goal themselves, captain Clàudia Pina glancing an effort off the base of the upright.
But the same player would soon be responsible for giving them the lead when a cross broke to her in the box and she smashed it past Leat to put Spain in front at the break.
The underdogs needed to begin the second half well to get back into the game but the highly-accomplished Spaniards weren’t about to let a place in the final slip through their grasp and extended their lead soon after the restart in stunning fashion. A loose ball dropped to Irene López outside the box and she unleashed a unstoppable volley that fizzed in off the inside of the post for one of the goals of the tournament.
If any were needed, it was a reminder of the sort of quality the Kiwis were up against and they couldn’t produce a similar moment of their own as they looked to fight back from two down.
Substitute Maya Hahn tried to get her country back into the game with a shot from distance on the hour but it was an ambitious effort and went wide. Anna Leat had been forced to make a good save at her near post earlier but had little else to do as Spain did not seriously threaten to add to their lead.
New Zealand kept pressing to keep their hopes alive and their best moment of the half arrived when a pair of substitutes combined to good effect in the 83rd minute. Britney Cunningham-Lee picked out Ayla Pratt with a perfect through ball but Coll did well to come out and block the effort of Pratt at close range.
The industrious Grace Wisnewski then caught a defender in possession and fired off a shot under pressure but Coll was able to make a comfortable save as Spain closed the game out.
New Zealand will now take on either Mexico or Canada in the play-off for third at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Sunday morning (NZT).
“The players will be disappointed tonight but we’ll refocus and if we can win that play-off game then that will be another special moment,” Birnie said.
New Zealand 0
Spain 2 (Clàudia Pina 39’, Irene López 48’)
New Zealand: 1. Anna Leat (GK), 2. Mackenzie Barry, 3. Hannah Mackay-Wright, 4. Aneka Mittendorff, 5. Marisa Van Der Meer, 6. Macey Fraser (16. Maya Hahn 53’), 7. Gabi Rennie, 8. Amelia Abbott, 9. Maggie Jenkins (17. Ayla Pratt 76’), 10. Grace Wisnewski, 11. Kelli Brown (13. Britney Cunningham-Lee 76’)
Substitutes not used: 12. Jayda Stewart, 14. Laney Strachan, 15. Genevieve Ryan, 18. Rose Luxton, 19. Arabella Maynard, 20. Georgia Candy (GK), 21. Blair Currie (GK)
Coach: Leon Birnie
The New Zealand U-17 women’s team has shocked the footballing world by defeating Japan on penalties to make the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup – the first time a side from this country has ever made the final four of a FIFA event.
Having earlier become the first team from New Zealand to make the quarter-finals of a World Cup and breaking several other records in the process, coach Leon Birnie and his charges were very much already in unchartered territory as they took to the field at the Estadio Alberto Suppici in Uruguay this morning (NZT).
But they weren’t in any mood to bring their history-making exploits to an end and instead continued the fairy-tale by holding highly-fancied Japan to a 1-1 draw and then finishing the job with a dramatic 4-3 win in the subsequent penalty shoot-out.
Goalkeeper and vice-captain Anna Leat was the heroine, pulling off a fine save in additional time to keep the scores level before also keeping out Japan’s first spot kick. She then stepped up herself to rifle home the winning penalty and earn one of the most memorable results in New Zealand football history.
“What a performance – these girls have come over here and game after game just defied the odds,” Birnie said.
“We’d never got out of the group before and we created history by doing that. Then today is a special occasion – no New Zealand team has ever reached a semi-final and now we’ve done it. I’m so proud of the girls and it was an amazing performance,” he added.
“Credit to Japan, they’re a quality side so we’ve done so well to go out and compete with them and then for that last 30 minutes just to stay in there. And that was just pure grit and determination that we didn’t want to concede. Then to finish like that and actually get through was amazing.”
New Zealand went into the match as underdogs against a Japan side with a proud record in this tournament and who were yet to be defeated on their march to the quarter-finals.
But the Kiwis appeared to surprise their opponents in the opening stages with the quality of their play as they began to build the foundations of what would become a major upset. Japan tried to control the ball and implement their usual possession-based style but were clearly unsettled by New Zealand’s willingness to press forward as Birnie’s side took the game to their accomplished rivals.
New Zealand enjoyed a particularly strong spell of pressure after around 10 minutes, captain Aneka Mittendorff launching a string of trademark long throws into the box before Kelli Brown found the goalkeeper with a long-range shot from a tricky angle.
Japan did well to ride out that period but found themselves behind soon after as New Zealand’s hard work on the training ground paid off in stunning style. In a well-worked routine they had clearly spent hours perfecting, captain Aneka Mittendorff stepped over a low corner from Macey Fraser, allowing Amelia Abott to smash home a perfectly-struck shot from the edge of the area on 17 minutes.
With the prospect of an unprecedented semi-final berth now on the cards, New Zealand were in dreamland and it nearly got even better in the 25th minute, Maggie Jenkins pouncing on a loose ball in the Japan box and firing off a shot that agonisingly clipped the top of the crossbar.
But they were brought back down to earth in unfortunate fashion just past the half-hour mark, Leat making a great save before Hannah Mackay-Wright did well to block the follow up but then stumbled and inadvertently forced the ball into her own net.
Japan enjoyed most of the ball in the second half but both sides found clear-cut opportunities hard to come by, only Macey Fraser, Gabi Rennie and Kelli Brown having any sight of goal with half chances for New Zealand.
They were forced to defend for most of the latter stages as Japan desperately searched for a winner but, with the majority of the starting line-up having been rested for their final group game, New Zealand’s legs were fairly fresh and they dug deep to take the game to penalties.
Leat gave New Zealand the advantage with an outstanding save low to her right before Maya Hahn, Grace Wisnewski and Brown were all successful with their spot kicks. Japan had scuffed another of their attempts wide so Jayda Stewart had the chance to win it for New Zealand but skied her effort over the bar.
It wasn’t to prove costly though as Leat took responsibility for the final penalty and showed composure well beyond her tender years to convert it with ease and create history for her country.
New Zealand will now take on Spain in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Thursday morning from 8am, live on SKY Sport.
Japan 1 (Own goal 31’)
New Zealand 1 (Amelia Abbott 17’)
New Zealand win 4-3 on penalties
New Zealand: 1. Anna Leat (GK), 2. Mackenzie Barry, 3. Hannah MacKay-Wright, 4. Aneka Mittendorff (c), 5. Marisa Van Der Meer, 6. Macey Fraser (16. Maya Hahn 51’), 7. Gabi Rennie (13. Britney Cunningham-Lee 83’), 8. Amelia Abbott, 9. Maggie Jenkins (12. Jayda Stewart 90’), 10. Grace Wisnewski, 11. Kelli Brown
Cautions: Aneka Mittendorff 34’
Substitutes not used: 14. Laney Strachan, 15. Genevieve Ryan, 17. Ayla Pratt, 18. Rose Luxton, 19. Arabella Maynard, 20. Georgia Candy (GK), 21. Blair Currie (GK)
Coach: Leon Birnie
A New Zealand team has qualified for the knockout stages of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for the first ever time after securing an impressive 2-1 victory over hosts Uruguay in Montevideo on Saturday.
While a historic first in this tournament, it’s the eighth time overall that New Zealand have progressed past pool play at a FIFA event and the first time it has been done with a game in hand.
“It’s an amazing moment,” said coach Leon Birnie.
“It’s historic for us because we’d never got out of the pool play and I’m just so proud of the girls. There’s so many people that have put it in for this result – from the staff to the players, all the parents that are over here supporting and everyone back in New Zealand that’s worked with these players along their journey. All of us together have helped them get to this moment.”
Heading to South America, New Zealand had only ever won two matches at this tournament but that tally has now been doubled after Birnie led his charges to their second successive Group A victory, following on from a 1-0 triumph over Finland just a few days earlier.
But it didn’t look like that would be the case in the early stages of an even first half, Uruguay taking the lead in just the eighth minute. After being outclassed 5-0 by Ghana on their own soil in their opening match, Uruguay needed a positive result against the Kiwis and got just the start they were looking for.
Esperanza Pizarro hit the crossbar with a well-struck shot from outside the box and Belén Aquino was on hand to tuck the rebound past goalkeeper Anna Leat, who was beaten for the first time at this tournament.
The possession stakes were evenly shared in an entertaining first half but New Zealand had the better of the chances as they looked to draw level. Their clearest sight of goal early on arrived on 12 minutes when the ball dropped to captain Aneka Mittendorff in the box and she brought it down well but dragged her effort across the face.
Seconds later, Grace Wisnewki tried her luck from a long way out and hit her effort well but it went straight into the grateful arms of Uruguay goalkeeper Agustina Caraballo.
The equaliser New Zealand’s endeavour deserved duly arrived mid-way through the half though as a looped cross from Gabi Rennie broke for Maggie Jenkins and she prodded against the post but Grace Wisnewski showed good awareness to pounce on the loose ball and put it away.
The second goal arrived in similar circumstances ten minutes later, Jenkins again hitting the woodwork after being picked out by a Macey Fraser free kick and the alert Kelli Brown following up to notch her second strike of the tournament.
There were fewer chances in a tight second half as Uruguay failed to find a way past another outstanding defensive effort from New Zealand, again led by skipper Mittendorff while Leat showed flawless handling in goal.
What few opportunities there were continued to fall New Zealand’s way but most of them were of the half-chance variety as Brown, Fraser and substitute Rose Luxton all had attempts from outside the area that either went wide or were comfortably saved.
Overall, New Zealand out-shot the hosts by 14 attempts to seven as they closed out the game to record their second successive win. Despite creating far more chances, Birnie felt the result may have been different on another day and paid tribute to the efforts of Uruguay.
“It was an absolute battle out there today and it could have gone either way if I’m honest,” he admitted.
“I’m just glad that we could keep working through it but credit to Uruguay, it’s a shame they haven’t progressed out of the group because it’s been a brilliant tournament. Everything we’ve experienced has been fantastic and I hope the rest of the tournament is a success.”
Having already secured their spot in the quarter-finals, New Zealand will now fight it out with Ghana, who also boast a perfect record, for the right to top the group on Wednesday morning (NZT).
Uruguay 1 (Belén Aquino 8’)
New Zealand 2 (Grace Wisnewski 26’, Kelli Brown 36’)
New Zealand: 1. Anna Leat (GK), 2. Mackenzie Barry, 3. Hannah MacKay-Wright, 4. Aneka Mittendorff (c), 5. Marisa Van Der Meer, 6. Macey Fraser (18. Rose Luxton 74’), 7. Gabi Rennie (17. Ayla Pratt 82’), 8. Amelia Abbott, 9. Maggie Jenkins (16. Maya Hahn 90+2’), 10. Grace Wisnewski, 11. Kelli Brown
Cautions: Hannah Mackay-Wright 34’, Macey Fraser 48’
Substitutes not used: 12. Jayda Stewart, 13. Britney Cunningham-Lee, 14. Laney Strachan, 15. Genevieve Ryan, 19. Arabella Maynard, 20. Georgia Candy (GK), 21. Blair Currie (GK)
Coach: Leon Birnie
The New Zealand U17s are preparing for the U17 World Cup in Uruguay next month.
The 21-women squad includes Football Ferns goalkeeper Anna Leat and three other players in Gabrielle Rennie, Aneka Mittendorf and Maggie Jenkins who represented New Zealand at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in August.
Head Coach Leon Birnie believes his squad will be well prepared to handle the challenge of Finland, hosts Uruguay and Ghana in the tournament that will be staged in three host cities from 13 November to 1 December.
“We have had some really honest conversations with the group about what we want to achieve in this cycle,” said Birnie. “When we get over to the World Cup we want to win at least one game and with the draw that we have been given are looking to progress out of the group stage, we think that is a real possibility.
“We are looking to create a bit of history and that is what we are focused on achieving. Once we have got out of the group, we will look to take it one game at a time in the quarterfinals and beyond, hopefully.”
Birnie said the selection of this squad has been a long time in the making. It has been 15 months to get to the final 21 players. Birnie and his support staff have done a lot of talent identification in that time through some robust processes.
“We are excited to be in this space now with the players that we have selected. There were some hard decisions coming into this final selection which is always a problem, but a nice problem to have.”
Birnie said the blend of experience and youth of this New Zealand U17 team means they have a well-balanced group who are determined to make their country proud.
“If you look at someone like Anna Leat, who has been away with the Football Ferns a number of times, and three others in Aneka, Gabbie and Maggie who were all part of the FIFA U-20 World Cup squad in France. Those experiences, plus the girls who are playing in the National Women’s League, puts us in good stead for the future.”
At the other end of the experience scale, there will be a large number who are experiencing a FIFA World Cup for the first time. Birnie is sure there will be some nerves and excitement.
“For the ones that I mentioned before, the girls that have been there before it is another good opportunity to showcase their talents on the world stage. It is up to them to utilise their experience and help the newer players who haven’t been to a World Cup before.
“It is a great opportunity for them and while this is a pinnacle event of the U17 cycle, the bigger picture is developing players for the Football Ferns. Hopefully most of this group will go onto to the U-20s , Ferns, FFDP [Future Ferns Domestic Programme] and obtain pro contracts to continue developing as footballers.”
The New Zealand U17 squad depart for the FIFA U17 World Cup on Saturday 3 November.
New Zealand U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup Squad 2018 (Club, School)
Amelia Abbott, Nelson Suburbs, Nelson College for Girls
Mackenzie Barry, N/A, New Plymouth Girls High School
Kelli Brown, Hamilton Wanderers, Hamilton Girls High School
Georgia Candy, Hamilton Wanderers, Hamilton Girls High School
Britney Cunningham-Lee, Papakura City, Waiuku College
Blair Currie, Cashmere Technical, St Andrews College
Macey Fraser, Waimakariri United, Rangiora High School
Maya Hahn, Western Suburbs, Hutt Valley High School
Margaret Jenkins, Glenfield Rovers, Epsom Girls Grammar School
Anna Leat, East Coast Bays, Rangitoto College
Rose Luxton, Forrest Hill Milford, St Cuthberts College
Hannah Mackay-Wright, Forrest Hill Milford, Rangitoto College
Arabella Maynard, Forrest Hill Milford, Takapuna Grammar School
Aneka Mittendorff, Forrest Hill Milford, Westlake Girls High School
Ayla Pratt, Three Kings, Saint Kentigern College
Gabrielle Rennie, Waimakariri United, Rangiora High School
Genevieve Ryan, Western Springs, Mt Albert Grammar School
Jayda Stewart, Waimakariri United, Papanui High School
Laney Strachan, Glenfield Rovers, Epsom Girls Grammar School
Marisa Van der Meer, FC Twenty 11, Middleton Grange School
Grace Wisnewski, Hamilton Wanderers, Hamilton Girls High School
Rylee Godbold, Claudelands Rovers, St Peters School, Cambridge
Aniela Jensen, Massey University, Palmerston North Girls
Casey Klyn, Forrest Hill Milford, Westlake Girls High School
FIFA U-17 World Cup – New Zealand’s fixtures (all NZT, Live on SKY Sport NZ)
New Zealand v Finland, Estadio Charrúa, Montevideo
Wednesday 14 November 8am
Uruguay v New Zealand, Estadio Charrúa, Montevideo
Saturday 17 November 11am
Ghana v New Zealand, Estadio Charrúa, Montevideo
Wednesday 21 November at 9am
New Zealand have qualified for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup by beating Tahiti 4-1 in their OFC U16 Championship semi-final in the Solomon Islands on Wednesday evening.
New Zealand were fast out of the blocks, Oskar Van Hattum giving them the lead just a few moments after kick-off before Henry Hamilton took his tournament goal tally to six with a quick-fire double.
That gave the Kiwis a well-deserved 3-0 lead with under 25 minutes on the clock and they went on to complete the job in the second half, Matthew Garbett stroking home from the spot to help book his country a ticket to Peru.
With so much riding on the outcome, an early goal to settle the nerves would have been exactly what Jose Figueira was after and his players didn’t disappoint, a quick free kick from Hamilton allowing Van Hattum to be played in on goal and he rounded goalkeeper Josselin Capel to slot home in just the second minute.
It got even better around ten minutes later as Matthew Garbett found space down the right to pick out leading marksman Hamilton at the back post and he beat Capel to place one New Zealand foot in Peru. Both feet were all but firmly planted in South America when Hamilton hit his second, again turning in from close range after outstanding work by Van Hattum on the right and a saved shot from Garbett.
New Zealand were now threatening to run riot and Tahiti had barely had a sniff of goal but the French Polynesians provided more resistance in the second period and were in fact next to find the net some time later, Tekaki Sangue giving them faint hope with just over ten minutes remaining.
But any prospect of a remarkable comeback was stamped out just a few minutes later when the dangerous Van Hattum was brought down in the box and Garbett coolly side-footed his penalty into the bottom corner to restore the three-goal cushion.
Safe in the knowledge their spot in Peru is secure, New Zealand will now take on hosts Solomon Islands in the OFC U-16 Championship final on Saturday and Figueira is expecting his players to be up for the challenge.
“I think it sets up a really good final and I guess we don’t need much motivation after the last result against them,” he says.
“We’ll let the boys enjoy it tonight and reflect on what they’ve accomplished but we want to get the job done in the last game.”
Tahiti 1 (Tekaki Sangue 79’)
New Zealand 4 (Oskar Van Hattum 2’, Henry Hamilton 13’, 24’, Matthew Garbett pen 82’)
New Zealand: 12. Luca Taylor (GK), 2. Max Drake, 3. Kris Naicker, 5. Ryan Verney (19. Hayden Aish 62’), 6. Campbell Strong (c), 7. Marko Stamenic, 8. Jackson Manuel, 9. Henry Hamilton (15. Bradley Wilson 59’), 11. Matthew Garbett, 14. Oskar Van Hattum (4. Adam Hillis 84’), 17. Nathan Lobo
Substitutes not used: 1. Alex Paulsen (GK), 10. Joseph Lee, 13. Finn O’Connor, 16. Sean Bright, 18. Benjamin Old, 20. Harry Bark
Cautions: Marko Stamenic 37’, Henry Hamilton 57’
Coach: Jose Figueira
A long season of hard-work and dedication paid off for the Baradene First XI on Saturday, winning the NZSS Girls Premier Lotto tournament in Taupo.
Second in the Auckland Provincial Championship, Baradene went one better in Taupo, beating Hamilton Girls’ High School 3-1 in the final to claim the school’s maiden NZSS Premier title.
“When the final whistle blew in the final, the girls were just ecstatic,” said team manager Bernadette Goulding. “This was the first time Baradene had been in a national final and to win it for the first time was special for the players and everyone involved.”
What set Baradene apart from the other 31 teams at Taupo?
“We have a star team, not a team of stars,” said Bernadette. “Hannah Pilley had a great tournament, getting our MVP and winning the tournament Golden Boot [joint with Natalie Ohlson from WEGC], while year 10 player Prue Catton and year 11 Petra Buyck and year 13 Olivia Gordon were three other consistent players for us all week. But overall all the girls played out of their skins and played well together.”
Victory for Baradene over Hamilton was also sweeter as they had lost to them 3-2 on the opening afternoon of the tournament.
“Things just weren’t going right for us that game, we had the majority of the chances and they had three chances and scored off all of them. It was also 2-2 up until the last minute when Hamilton scored the winner.”
This meant they finished second in Pool D, also beating Nelson Girls’ College 5-0 and Hutt Valley High School 4-0 in pool play.
In the round of 16 they beat Pool H winners New Plymouth Girls’ High School 2-1 to advance to the quarter-finals, where they would beat Wellington’s St Mary’s College 6-2 after being 1-0 down virtually from the opening kick-off and then 4-1 up at halftime.
“The quarter-final win was probably our best game, everything went well and worked for us.”
Then on to the semi-final.
“We played Palmerston Norths Girls’ High School, who were very strong and unlucky to not make the final.
Baradene won the semi-final 4-1, but this didn’t reflect the game. “On the day they played the better football. We had five or six chances and we scored off four of them.”
“It showed the quality of our team though, we weren’t playing as well as we did in the quarter-final but we were still able to put away our chances.”
Hamilton Girls’ High School beat Epsom Girls’ Grammar School in a penalty shootout in the other semi-final.
The final itself was played in a strong wind, which was a factor in how it played out.
Baradene played against the wind in the first half, and went up 1-0 through a goal to playmaking year 10 player Prue Catton. Hamilton equalised and it was all square.
“Hamilton scored about 10 minutes before halftime, so the coaches were thinking at that point that we just need to get through to halftime and we would be okay because we will have the wind next. We were literally holding on, but we got through.”
Hannah Pilley was the tournament’s Golden Boot with nine goals overall, but few were more important than the one she scored early in the second half latching on to a Petra Buyck cross that put Baradene up 2-1.
“That is when we started to look stronger. With 10 minutes to go our substitute Charlotte Gordon found herself in space and slotted the winner.”
Baradene’s win was the first by their school, but maintains a grip on the title by Auckland schools. Saint Kentigern College won last year and before that Mount Albert Grammar School won a four-peat between 2013-16.
In the Auckland competition, Baradene came third in the first part of the season, and then in the Auckland Provincial Championship (APC) they reached the final against St Kent’s.
“We had an excellent game in the APC final. It was 2-2 at fulltime. It went into extra time and it was still 2-2, but they won on a penalty shootout.”
Just three players are school leavers in 2018, so the immediate future of Baradene appears promising.
After a long season playing for school, club and in some cases representative teams, most players are having a break now from playing as school and mock exams take precedence this week. Many players also play futsal so that will be coming up next for them.
Meanwhile, recent Auckland winners and defending NZSS champions St Kent’s could only finish ninth in Taupo, while MAGS were 25th overall.
Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, who came third in Auckland, also came third in Taupo by beating Palmerston North GHS 2-1 in the 3 v 4 match.
The leading South Island school was Burnside High School who finished fifth, one place ahead of St Andrew’s College who they beat 5-4 in the 5 v 6 match.
Westlake Girls’ High School won the Trevor Osten Memorial Trophy for winning the 17-32 knockout rounds. Westlake GHS beat Sacred Heart College, New Plymouth, 1-0 in the final.
The Baradene College NZSS winning team was:
Coach: Ryan Shiffman
Manager: Bernadette Goulding
Coordinator: Rachel Buyck
From fifth in Wellington to fourth in New Zealand, the rollercoaster ride of the St Patrick’s College, Wellington (Town) First XI football team is one of the more remarkable stories in college sport in 2018.
Had the ball bounced in a different direction and some greater administrative empathy been applied, it’s quite conceivable Town could have successfully defended their Premier Youth Wellington title and won the Nationals.
Captain Samuel Mitrakas was convinced his team would perform strongly at Nationals, despite a disappointing conclusion to the Wellington Trevor Rigby Cup.
“I always had a feeling we’d do alright. Our luck had to change sometime. Our management prepared us really well both mentally and physically,” Mitrakas acclaims.
Town are coached by Harry Rickus (a young Englishman with a UEFA B badge) and Luc Townsend, a respected teacher.
July 28, is the last round of Premier Youth Wellington competition before the teams are divided into a top four/bottom four section - a change in format from the previous season where the top two teams automatically qualified for the final.
Town only needs a solitary point to absolutely guarantee their place in the top four, but lose 1-2 to Wellington College leaving three teams tied on the same number of points.
Despite beating Rongotai College and St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, the other schools involved, Town is demoted to the bottom four because of an inferior goal difference.
Law 16.1 of the College Sport Wellington Football handbook states:
“The process for differentiating two teams tied on round robin competition points shall be: a. The team who won the most recent competition match between those two teams shall be afforded the higher rank.”
However Law 20 relating to semis and finals is applied. That rule states.
“In the case of teams being equal on competition points they will be differentiated firstly on goal difference in all competition games.”
“We thought we were through,” Mitrakas admits.
“We found out at Wednesday practice we were in the bottom four. We were absolutely gutted, but we don’t control the rules so we had no choice but to pick ourselves up,” he continued.
The top four teams played each other in a round-robin series before the top two advanced to the final. The absence of a one-off semi-final was the source of the confusion.
Given the choice would Mitrakas have structed the competition differently?
“I don’t know. I don’t mind the top four. I guess there's lots of way you can structure a competition,” Mitrakas answered.
There was nothing confusing about Town’s response. In the bottom four they defeated Tawa College (4-0), Scots College (2-1) and Wairarapa College (8-1) with Mitrakas scoring in all three games.
Ironically Silverstream, the team with the worst record against Rongotai and Town in the earlier round, lost to Hutt International Boys’ School in the final having beaten HIBS twice previously. HIBS were the lowest finishing Wellington team at Nationals coming in 24th place.
Town was grouped in Pool B at Nationals alongside New Plymouth Boys’ High School, Lincoln High School and perennial contenders Sacred Heart College. The first two fixtures were identified as a ‘must-win.’
A heavy downpour played a major role in the New Plymouth match.
“It was played on grass which made the pitch really muddy. We scored an early goal and were able to sit back a bit more because it was hard to create chances. We scored another goal and won 2-0,” Mitrakas reflects.
There would be no sitting back against Lincoln High School.
“I thought Lincoln would do a lot better than what they ended up doing. We beat them 1-0 and had to really work for it,” Mitrakas shared.
Both Town and Sacred Heart were through to the Round of 16 by the time they met which allowed both sides to rest some key players. However Town were eager to show they could compete against the 2016 champions.
“We didn’t want to roll over. We had to show we could compete against a very strong Auckland team. A 1-1 draw gave us a lot of confidence,” Mitrakas asserted.
St Andrew’s College (1-0) and King’s College, Auckland (2-0) were dispatched in the Round of 16 and quarter final respectively establishing a rematch with Sacred Heart in the semi.
An even battle was locked up at 0-0 approaching the end of regulation. Mitrakas captures what happened next.
“We won a penalty in referee’s time. If I scored with the last kick of the game we would’ve won, but the keeper made a great save. The game went to a shootout and I was always going to be the first shooter for us. I missed again,” Mitrakas morns.
Sacred Heart prevailed 5-3 and went onto win the final against Mount Albert Grammar School.
In the playoff for third Town faced St Kentigern College who had beaten Sacred Heart twice and romped to the Premier League title in Auckland. More anguish was to follow.
“St Kent’s were a really good possession side, but we gave as good as we got. They won by scoring a goal with the last play of the game,” Mitrakas rues.
Year 11 striker Nathan Simes, goalkeeper Themba Clarke and defender Lachlan O'Connor were among Town’s standouts.
Regular Wellington Phoenix starter Liberato Cacace was absent.
“Liberato is a class player and there's no doubt he would’ve made a difference, but we’ve played most of the season without him so I'm not sure how much we could of changed things,” Mitrakas observers.
Town’s finish is the best by a Wellington school since St Patrick’s College, Silverstream lost the final to Sacred Heart in 2011.
“I’m really proud of the boys. There's lots of leaders in the team and we could have fell apart after Wellington,” Mitrakas concluded.
Mitrakas plays for senior football for Wellington Olympic in the Central and Capital leagues. In 2019 he intends to work, play and study with the goal of earning a scholarship to the USA in 2020.
“We have a big rivalry with St Kent’s. We never want to lose to St Kent’s. When we lost the league to them we resolved the only way to get them back was to win Nationals,” Kingsley Sinclair from the Sacred Heart College First XI football team says.
Despite surrendering the Auckland Premiership for the first time in four seasons, Sacred Heart won the National title for the fourth occasion in the last eight years in Christchurch on Friday.
Goals from Max Ongley, Joel Clissold and Riwai Stanton earned a 3-0 victory in the final against Mount Albert Grammar School.
MAGS was only fifth in Auckland, 21 points behind St Kent’s, but Sinclair was unsurprised to see their fellow Auckland adversaries in the decider. MAGS eliminated St Kent’s in the National semi-final with a Thomas Golding double the telling difference.
“Tournament football is different to league football. It’s about being the best team on the day and comes down to team spirit, luck and risk. MAGS are a good side. They are conditioned by the same coach we have so they’re fit and play a similar style,” Sinclair explains.
Sacred Heart had drawn their last encounter with MAGS 4-4, but he believes collective leadership was the key to reversing that result.
“I’m officially the captain, but I believe we’re all captains,” Sinclair asserts.
“We’ve got a lot of experienced players and it’s the job of the seniors to help the juniors step up,” Sinclair continued.
The fickle nature of tournament football was best illustrated by Sacred Heart’s struggles against St Patrick’s College, Wellington. St Pats failed to make the top four in the capital, but held Sacred Heart to a 1-1 draw in pool play and then reached the National semi-final which was decided in a penalty shootout after both team's hit the woodwork multiple times in regulation.
“The semi-final was the toughest game. We knew they would come out firing after the group game. They’re a really good side. They fight hard for the whole 90 minutes. Both teams wanted it bad and we did get a little bit lucky,” Sinclair concedes.
Year 11 goalkeeper Declan Viljoen proved to be a hero saving a penalty with the last kick in regulation and three in the shootout which Sacred Heart won. Jack Duncan, Malcolm Young, Ongley, Stanton and Sinclair converted their chances.
“Declan’s been in the squad since Year 9. He's started this year. He’s been huge,” Sinclair acclaims.
Sinclair plays in the midfield additionally appearing in senior fixtures for Eastern Suburbs in the National League. Easts were beaten in the semi-finals by eventual winners Auckland City, but twice tamed 2017 champions Team Wellington.
Sinclair was born on the Gold Coast, but represented New Zealand at the Under-17 FIFA World Cup last year and was in the New Zealand Under-20 squad who won OFC U-19 Championship in Tahiti in August.
Sacred Heart National Results
Pool Play: Lincoln High School, 1-0
Pool Play: St Patrick’s College, Wellington, 1-1
Pool Play: New Plymouth Boys’ High School, 3-0
Round of 16: St Paul’s Collegiate, 2-0
Quarter Final: St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, 3-0
Semi-Final: St Patrick’s College, Wellington, 0-0 (Won on penalties)
Grand Final: Mount Albert Grammar School, 3-0
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