The OFC Nations Cup is an International Football Association tournament. It is held among the teams that are part of the Football Confederation of Oceania. Abbreviated as OFC. The abbreviation is deciphered from English and looks like this - Oceania Football Confederation.
History of the event
At first, the tournament was held every two years from 1996 to 2004. Until 1996, there were two stages held at irregular intervals under the name of the Oceania Nations Cup.
There was no competition in 2006, but two years later, a qualifying tournament was held to determine the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, with New Zealand winning.
It so happened that for the entire time of the competition, two main favorites stood out - Australia and New Zealand, which until 2012, when the Tahiti team unexpectedly won, competed exclusively among themselves for the right to own the OFC Cup. What is the Nations Cup and what is its format?
The Cup is an international continental competition. The first two tournaments were played withoutany qualifying rounds. In the next three, Australia and New Zealand were automatically approved for participation, while the other ten teams went through qualifying matches. In the framework of the Polynesian and Melanesian Cups, each of the teams competed with five participants, grouped by geographical principle. The qualifying round was held by those who were on the first two lines of the final table.
After the abolition of the Cups in 2002, there were changes in the OFC format. What did this change entail? Based on the FIFA rating, 12 teams were singled out, 6 of which, having a low rating, passed the group stage of selection. In the competition itself, two groups of 4 teams were formed, in each round the weakest one was eliminated.
In 2004, the format changes again - a scheme similar to that practiced in the period 1996-2000 in the OFC returns. What did such a return imply? Each of the five teams plays in two qualifying rounds, with Australia and New Zealand being eliminated closer to the actual tournament. In the group stage games, the teams met both at home and away. The tournament was for the first time a qualifier for the 2006 World Championship. The winner of the OFC, no one doubted that this would happen, was the Australian team, whose leadership after the competition decided to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
For the 2008 tournament, the organizers decided to change the format again. The 2007 South Pacific Games served as a qualification for participation inOFC for teams finishing in the first three places. New Zealand was traditionally automatically selected as the winner of the 2008 Games, thus securing the right to participate in the Confederations Cup in 2009 and a place in the play-offs in the 2010 World Cup.
In 2016, the format was as follows.
Group Stage: The eight teams were divided into two groups of four each. For the two strongest, a place in the playoffs is provided. In addition, the top three teams from both groups advance to the third round of the 2018 World Cup as part of the qualifying round.
Final Stage: Four playoffs play in a knockout match until a winner is determined.
In 2016, the OFC Cup was held for the 10th time from May 28 to June 11 in Papua New Guinea. The winner is New Zealand, who have secured their place in the 2017 Confederations Cup, which will be held in Russia.