Tahiti wins 2012 Oceania Nations Cup

The Polynesian nation has booked its place at next year's Confederations Cup after victory over New Caledonia, who knocked out the highly-fancied New Zealand in the semis
Tahiti have been crowned champions of Oceania for the first time in their history after beating Francophone rivals New Caledonia 1-0 in the OFC Nations Cup final in Honiara's Lawson Tama Stadium in Solomon Islands.

A 13th minute close-range goal from star striker Steevy Chong-Hue was enough to deliver the trophy to the Polynesian island, who has also booked a place in the next Fifa Confederations Cup in Brazil, which will be played between June 15-30 next year.

Tahiti completed their perfect run in the tournament which saw them win all the five matches played, including a big upset over hosts Solomon Islands, who they defeated 1-0 in the semifinal to Eddy Etaeta's men.

But it was New Caledonia who caused one of the most unexpected shocks in Nations Cup's history, outclassing great favourites and unbeaten 2010 World Cup participants New Zealand 2-0 in the other semifinal in Honiara.

Despite the masterclass performance against the All Whites, who finished third after overcoming 4-3 Solomon Islands in the third-place final, New Caledonia were unable to take advantage of that win losing again to their traditional rivals in Sunday's final, replicating the dramatic 4-3 loss against their French-speaking counterparts in the group stage.

Eight teams split in two groups took part in the tournament in Solomon Islands, where teams qualified to the semifinals guaranteed also a spot to the third-round of Oceania's qualifiers to the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

Tahiti, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Solomon Islands will all compete in a round-robin group stage whose winner will face Concacaf's last round fourth-placed team in a crucial intercontinental play-off on the road to Brazil.

It's the first time ever that a Pacific Island clinches the OFC Nations Cup title after the previous eight editions' trophies were equally lifted by Australia, now a member of the Asian Football Confederation, and New Zealand, with four titles each.