Vanuatu guaranteed a semi final spot now
The hopes of the hosts are still faintly alive but they will have to rely on the Group A action going their way tomorrow.
Fiji need Vanuatu to beat New Zealand and must also earn the massive victory over Kiribati it would take to overhaul the Futsal Whites’ vastly superior goal difference.
Vanuatu knew a win today would be enough to send them through, although they have not yet secured top spot in Group A, and began as if that fact was at the forefront of their minds.
Jean-Yves Galine’s men went ahead in only the second minute when Louis Dominique rifled home a long-range effort and were 4-0 up by the fourth minute after further strikes to Fenedy Masauvakalo and Don Mansale bookended a Shivam Nathan own goal.
Now in serious danger of seeing their semi-final dreams suffer a major blow, Fiji tightened their defence and managed a response to the early Vanuatu onslaught when Ajesh Narayan struck in the ninth minute.
Their task was made even tougher with three minutes remaining in the first half, however, when Ben Hungai put Vanuatu 5-1 up and well on track for the semi-finals.
Despite pressing hard in the second period, Fiji struggled to create many clear-cut chances and could only score once more, through Sandeep Nair in the 37th minute, as they failed to repeat the late come-from-behind heroics they managed against New Zealand yesterday.
Vanuatu coach Jean-Yves Galine:
We are very happy with the victory, we came here well prepared and determined to win. We were confident of winning our first two matches and qualifying for the semi final. We are here for one reason – to win the championship and take back home the gold. We are out for a win against New Zealand tomorrow to top the group. We are not really concerned about who we might play in the semi-finals.
Fiji coach Intiaz Khan:
We gave the game away in the first five minutes and that was our downfall. But hats off to my boys, we had just five weeks of preparation and played really well. One of the major problems with our side is that we take time to settle and it is sometimes too late to fight back. We had some luck yesterday and got the goals but that was not the case today. Vanuatu had good structure and they were determined to get a win. They made use of the opportunities they had and we could not do the same. We still have a slim chance of qualifying but that will depend on another result. We will give our best in our last pool game and wait for the outcome.