Needing a win to keep their hopes of progressing through to the semi-finals alive, the New Caledonians wasted little time in making their intentions clear, going two goals up within the first five minutes through Ivann Pourouoro and Julien Drudri.
Further efforts from Anderson Paulin, Cedrick Humuni and Loic Caunes had them 5-1 up at the halfway point, Tuvalu’s sole goal coming from Andrew Taufaiua in the 14th minute.
Tuvalu’s small band of supporters greeted that strike with plenty of gusto but they had little else to celebrate during a second spell that saw New Caledonia score a further six times.
Romain Guitton stole the show with a hat-trick while Paulin added his second of the afternoon in the final minute after Caryl Thepinier and Ismael Tchovanili had also found the net.
New Caledonia now face a vital clash with francophone rivals Tahiti tomorrow, the outcome of which is likely to decide which of the two teams will progress through to the semi-finals from Group B.
Tuvalu coach Takiao Vave:
I think we did pretty well in the first half but we just couldn’t kept it up in the second half, it was tough for the boys. But it’s a highlight for us to have scored a goal, we had some other chances but we just couldn’t put it in. We didn’t have much of a build-up before we came to this tournament so I am happy with what the players have been able to do. All we can ask of them is to do the best they can.
New Caledonia coach Eric Michalak:
It is a much better feeling than yesterday because we have won. But you could see that it is not perfect and there are still a lot of things we are not doing right. I respect the performance of Tuvalu, they have a lot of speed, and I’m happy but I know that we can progress from this. We need to work on the simple things, like passing and movement. It will not be very easy to win against Tahiti because they want the same thing we do. We need to get some revenge because we lost to them 3-2 last year.