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SD Loyal Defender Nikko Boxall Selected by New Zealand for World Cup Qualifying

By Staff, 03/15/22, 10:07AM EDT


Eight-team tournament will determine Oceania’s representative for inter-confederation playoff

San Diego Loyal SC defender Nikko Boxall has been selected in New Zealand's squad for FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifying this month after making his debut for the side in the Championship this past Saturday. | Photo courtesy Ben Nichols / San Diego Loyal SC

San Diego Loyal SC defender Nikko Boxall has been named in New Zealand’s squad for Oceania’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying tournament which opens this week and will determine which country advances to the FIFA inter-confederation playoff in June.

Boxall is part of a 30-player squad that also includes current Portland Timbers defender Bill Tuiloma, who previously played in the Championship for the Portland Timbers 2. The 30-year-old signed with SD Loyal this offseason and made his debut this past Saturday in the side’s 2-1 victory against the LA Galaxy II at Torero Stadium. He has previously made three appearances for New Zealand while competing in Europe previously in his professional club career.

The top-ranked team in Oceania, New Zealand has been drawn alongside New Caledonia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea in the group stage, with the top two teams set to advance to the knockout stage. New Zealand will kick off the tournament this Friday as it faces Papua New Guinea before facing Fiji (March 21) and New Caledonia (March 24). The semifinals are scheduled for March 27, and the final for March 30, with the tournament winner advancing to the next stage.

Oceania’s representative will face the fourth-placed team in Concacaf 2022 FIFA World Qualifying in a single-game playoff in Qatar in June, with the winner advancing to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November.

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