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Qlamqtar 2022 FIFA World Cup | Profile | PAPUA NEW GUINEA: “As far as we’re concerned, that was us at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup”

***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***

The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 4 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.

But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Papua New Guinea, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.

The stylised New Zealand southern cross superimposed on a black triangle on its flag honours the Papua New Guinea’s martyrs who suffered during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

PAPUA NEW GUINEA
As far as we’re concerned, that was us at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

The 2016 Oceania Cup winning team (as far as Papua New Guinea’s concerned) that went to the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia

Nickname: Kapuls (Cuscus)
FIFA Ranking: 161 (June 2022)

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Defeated 3-2 by Solomon Islands in semi-final of Oceania qualification tournament

Though the records show that New Zealand went as Oceania’s representative to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, as far as Papua New Guinea’s concerned, that was actually them that were there in Russia getting flattened in all three of its group matches, and not New Zealand.

In the qualifying tournament for the Confederations Cup held in Papua New Guinea, the Kapuls went in as the lowest ranked team of all eight finalists (ranked 202nd in the world). Nevertheless, they went on a dream run to the final, knocking out Solomon Islands in the semi-finals before coming up against the confederation’s benchmark New Zealand. Expected to be swept aside with ease by the Kiwis, Papua New Guinea held out the Oceanic giants, forcing the game to go to penalties after a scoreless draw. At that point the result was but a lottery, and considering its sheer overwhelming size, population, GDP, inflation, standing in global diplomacy, wealth of resources and talent, not to mention the impressive calibre of players in New Zealand’s national squad (comprised entirely of professionals), as well as its history on the world stage that includes participation at two FIFA World Cups (including going undefeated at the 2006 edition, even holding eventual winners Italy to a draw), being unable to breach the Papua New Guinea defence and having to take the match all the way to penalties against the 10th lowest ranked team in the world at the time, well, let’s be honest here, Papua New Guinea won that match, and (as far as Papua New Guinea are concerned) it was they who, as a result, were HEADING TO THE FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP 2017 IN RUSSIA!!!*

*officially it was New Zealand who won the shootout 4-2 and were heading there

Denis Glushakov chips Papua New Guinea’s goalkeeper, leading to Russia’s opening goal in the tournament’s curtain-raiser

Incredible! What a fairytale for PNG! Looking back on the memories now it all seems like a blur, but much like when things appear blurry you have to kind of just take a punt at what’s going on. And from Papua New Guinea’s blurry point of view, it was them who opened the tournament against hosts Russia, losing 2-0, not New Zealand. Next, Papua New Guinea dropped their second match, being eliminated by Mexico 2-1 in the process in a spiteful encounter, before ultimately getting trounced 4-0 by Portugal in a match that put Papua New Guinea out of the tournament, but into the hearts of football fans around the globe.

Papua New Guinea’s final group match was disappointing, but as far as they were concerned they had done the country proud

One to watch: The pesky Korawai tribe member currently trying to eat you

Next time you find yourself getting eaten by humans in southeastern Papua New Guinea, look alive, because there’s little doubt you’ve come a cropper of the Korawai tribe, believed to be among the last people on earth to practice cannibalism. So if you catch a Korawai tribesman gnawing away at your upper arm (that’s the tasty bit) or somehow end up served up on a platter being eyed off by a pack of hungry local tribespeople about to dig in, you’re gonna wanna just let them know that you are not in a fact a khakhua (sorcerer), that you have very little interest in sorcery and that you come in peace. Then, when a legitimate wicked khakhua is eventually served up, as you dig in and devour the flesh of someone who actually deserves it, you can have a good laugh about the whole misunderstanding with your new cannibal buddies!

The Highpoint: One step away from reaching a now defunct tournament

Don’t let the image fool you, Papua New Guinea failed dismally in qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup (and 2022) but they did impress in almost qualifying for a tournament that no longer is even a thing

Depending on how you look at it, Papua New Guinea failed at the final hurdle to reach the last ever FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017 (see above), while doing even worse in the corresponding World Cup qualification. But what is clear is that the national team’s greatest ever result is deep progress in qualification for a tournament that doesn’t exist anymore. Here’s to better days ahead and, who knows, with Oceania slated to receive an automatic spot at the 2026 World Cup, maybe even success in a tournament that does exist!

Learn the lingo & speak like a local!

Despite this local’s affluence, in Papua New Guinea, much like everywhere else, it’s a case of “Mo tabu (or shell money), Mo problems”

Upcoming matches

Sit tight, World Cup 2026 qualification kicks off in about a year-a year and a half!