History has been made for Oceanian side Vanuatu as they and New Zealand won their way to the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017.
Vanuatu qualified for their maiden FIFA tournament in the most dramatic fashion imaginable as an injury-time winner against Solomon Islands sent a packed Port Vila stadium into delirium.
Vanuatu, who had previously featured only in a Youth Olympic Football Tournament, came from behind for a 2-1 win.
Solomon Islands, also looking for their first visit to the world stage in 11-a-side football, went ahead through Joe Gise’s free-kick midway through the opening half, before Godine Tenene soon levelled for the home side.
The Solomons found themselves a man down in the final stages with Israel Tatai sent off, before Frederick Massing scored a memorable 94th-minute winner amid five minutes of added time.
For the first time two OFC qualification spots were on offer in the qualification stage, and it was New Zealand who claimed the other ticket with a 3-1 comeback win over New Caledonia.
New Zealand, hosts of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, found themselves a goal down to Cyril Nyipe’s goal on 19 minutes. However, Moses Dyer soon bagged a brace within seven minutes for the Kiwis and Reese Cox added second-half insurance.
New Zealand and Vanuatu will now square off in the OFC U-20 Championship final in Port Vila on Saturday.
Fiji became the first Pacific Islands' nation to win a game at the U-20 World Cup when they defeated Honduras 3-0 last year in New Zealand, while Tahiti made a breakthrough appearance by qualifying for the 2009 edition in Egypt.