The Oceania confederation only had three entries for the Italia ’90 qualification, though in addition to Fiji, Australia and New Zealand, there were also non-OFC members Israel (just like in qualification for Mexico ’86) and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). This meant that five nations would compete for a place in the intercontinental play-offs between OFC and CONMEBOL (its Group 2 winners), where the victorious team ultimately would qualify for the World Cup.
The OFC qualification had a first and a second round. The first saw two-legged affairs where both winners would go on through to the second round along with Israel, who had received a first round bye. The three teams in round two would play each other on a home and away basis, according to round-robin principles.
To be continued in 2021, with match reports and statistics for all teams that competed in the OFC zone of the 1990 World Cup qualification.
26 November 1988
First leg, Prince Charles Park (Nadi)
Fiji 1-0 Australia
The plucky Fiji team executed a sensational win against the region’s big nation. Perhaps had Australia not arrived in the best of shape, and perhaps had they even under-estimated the quality of the opposition. The only goal of the game came midway through the second half through substitute Madigi. Fiji had stuck to a very physical approach which had had some opposing players intimidated.
3 December 1988
Second leg, Macquarie Fields (Speers Point)
Australia 5-1 Fiji
11 December 1988
First leg, Newton Park (Wellington)
Chinese Taipei 0-4 New Zealand
In Chinese Taipei’s ‘home game’, they had managed to tame the opposition, which had taken some time to gel in the first match back for returning supremo Adshead. Victory by such a handsome margin turned the second leg into a comfortable affair for the All Whites.
15 December 1988
Second leg, Western Springs (Auckland)
New Zealand 4-1 Chinese Taipei
A Darren McClennan hat-trick almost stole the headlines from Wynton Rufer’s return to national team action. New Zealand proceeded safely through to the group stage phase with an 8-1 aggregate win.
5 March 1989
Match 1, Ramat Gan National Stadium (Tel Aviv)
Israel 1-0 New Zealand
12 March 1989
Match 2, Sydney Football Stadium (Sydney)
Australia 4-1 New Zealand
19 March 1989
Match 3, Ramat Gan National Stadium (Tel Aviv)
Israel 1-1 Australia
2 April 1989
Match 4, Mount Smart Stadium (Auckland)
New Zealand 2-0 Australia
9 April 1989
Match 5, Mount Smart Stadium (Auckland)
New Zealand 2-2 Israel
16 April 1989
Match 6, Sydney Football Stadium (Sydney)
Australia 1-1 Israel