Cook Islands will be hoping for an unbeaten streak when they meet Fiji at 5pm to avoid a likely clash against New Zealand, who are looking set to win Group A. The second-placed nation in Group B will likely be drawn against the defending champions, in a difficult route to the final.
After a complacent performance against American Samoa in their previous match, Cook Islands coach Theresa Tatuava is preparing her side for a tough encounter and hopes to see her players lift to the intensity she expects.
“They got a bit complacent when they got a few goals ahead of American Samoa and they sort of relaxed. That’s not what we can afford to do, especially coming up against Fiji,” she said.
“Fiji isn’t a side that we can underestimate at all. They may have drawn against Tonga, and we beat Tonga, but that doesn’t tell us anything because they could come back and bring their A-game.
“They’re fast and they’ve got a lot of tall girls. They’re physical as well, so that’s something (else) we have to compete against.”
Fiji coach Marika Rodu knows how much is riding on the line in their final Group B encounter, and although they’ve proven their strength, speed and fitness in the past two games, he believes his side’s final match will require much mental strength.
“The girls are doing very well physically but we need to be tough mentally. We’ll try to work our way through the Cook Islands challenge and try to conquer whatever they throw at us.
“They are a well-formed team, Cook Islands, but we’ll try to come at them with speed on Friday.”