New Zealand Head Coach Martin Bullock says Fiji’s energy and pressure play dropped in the second half of their semifinal clash and this allowed them to score three unanswered goals and clinch a 4-1 victory over the hosts in Suva last night.
Bullock said their aim was to penetrate the Fijian defenders which they excellently did in the second half of the match.
“Fair play to Fiji, they had a real good go. They pressed as high as they probably could, and with massive intensity which caused problems where we would have over played at times in the opposition half. “
“We kind of got more in our stride in the second half. Fiji’s energy probably went down a little bit due to their conditions and the stage of the tournament that we’re at, which is really difficult. And we were able then to open up chances and opportunities.”
“In the first half, we were probably playing too deep without trying to penetrate enough and getting our center midfielders on the ball once we could do that. The pressure from Fiji dropped because of the stage of the tournament and the time in the game. We were much more comfortable and able to dominate possession.”
He also revealed their message was to counter Fijian attacker Sailimone Ravonokula who gave the Kiwis a tough time in the opening half.
“Our message was to try and stop the number nine player who I thought was really good in the first half. He didn’t give us on the backs too much time, we didn’t give him too much space and he was a real handful in the first half. That’s one thing we mentioned about and we were much better in the second half dealing with him.”
New Zealand will play New Caledonia in the grand final at 7pm while Fiji will meet Tahiti in the bronze medal play-off at 4pm on Saturday.
Meanwhile, New Zealand and New Caledonia have already booked a spot in the FIFA World Cup which will be played in Peru in November.