The usual Australia vs. New Zealand playoff in Oceania will not take place in Oceania this time around.
Whilst the Australians cruised to their now customary top of the table finish, their southern counterparts were humiliated at the hands of Vanuatu paving the way for the Solomon Islands to take second spot and a stab at the Aussies.
New Zealand went into their match against Vanuatu as outright favourites, and rightly so as no Pacific Island team has ever made it to the final playoff. However, Vanuatu’s shock 4-2 defeat of the All Whites left the Solomon Islands with a chance and with a fantastic 2-2 draw with Australia secured their place in the Pacific Islands limited football folklore.
The winner of the decisive playoff, of which Australia are clear favourites, will then have to play yet another playoff against the fifth placed side from South America.
There’s still a lot to do before either team reaches Germany but the Solomon Islands are just two playoffs away from surely the biggest upset of this term’s world cup qualifiers.