2 more Oceania World Cup qualifiers called off for COVID-19

Cook Islands became the second nation in Oceania World Cup qualifying to have a match postponed following a positive COVID-19 test.

The Oceania Football Confederation said Sunday’s Group A games between Cook Islands and Tahiti, and between Vanuatu and Solomon Islands would not be played.

FIFA, soccer’s governing body, said Vanuatu had withdrawn from the qualifying tournament in Doha, Qatar, after a majority of its team tested positive. The OFC said “there are a number of Cook Islands players who have tested positive.”

Cook Islands opened Thursday with a 2-0 loss to Solomon Islands, when Vanuatu’s match against Tahiti was called off.

In Group B openers on Friday, New Zealand beat Papua New Guinea 1-0 and Fiji defeated New Caledonia 2-1.

The winner of the Oceania final on March 30 advances to a June playoff against the fourth-place nation in North and Central America and the Caribbean. The winner of that match joins the 32-nation field for the World Cup.

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