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Del Bosque, Torres dub Tahiti as “noble opponents”

Jun 20, 2013, 8:38 PM EDT

Spain v Tahiti: Group B - FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Getty Images

Tahiti may have lost 10-0, but they’ve captivated the soccer community.

Despite the scoreline, both teams played with professionalism and a love for the game in mind, and the Spanish squad publicly recognized the hearts of the Tahitians.

Fernando Torres has faced criticism throughout his years at Stamford Bridge, but he was the first to acknowledge how Tahiti played the game. “All of us have become big fans of that team” said Torres after accepting his Man-of-the-Match award. “We have all had our photos taken together – it was a joy to play in that match and not just because we won so easily, but because they were sporting and despite losing they played with a smile on their faces from the first kick to the last.”

Torres continued, saying Tahiti provided an example for others to follow. “They tried to play football and although the result proved there is a massive difference between the teams, that was not the most important thing. The most important thing was it was sporting contest. A lot of other teams should follow their example.”

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque echoed Torres’ claims, saying the way Tahiti played is a positive sign for the sport as a whole.

“It was quite humbling to play against them,” the boss said. “They were sporting, they played really fairly and every time they got the ball they tried to attack us. They were noble opponents. Of course the gap between professional and amateur football is huge but with the respect each team showed, I think football has been strengthened today and not weakened.”

The Tahitians were mostly praised after the match for not trying to “park the bus” by shoving everyone behind the ball, but instead attempting to build attacks of their own.

Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta said that while he was disappointed with a number of the goals conceded, believes they’ve still “won a major victory by winning the hearts of the Brazilian public.”

Etaeta thinks their country is vastly improving, and is asking club teams around the world to give his players a chance so they may gain the experience necessary to qualify for a World Cup in the near future. “We are laying some foundations. We will improve if some of our players move to professional clubs overseas. Not the top clubs naturally, but if we had more professionals the game could improve at home, and who knows about the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.”

It’s a longshot, but you can’t fault the effort and the heart.

  1. bellerophon30 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of Torres and Del Bosque. Even at 9-0, and with the islanders probably desperate to keep it in single digits, they didn’t go into a shell, and still attacked. They played nothing but positive football, cleanly.

    Tahitian Football = Class

  2. danielofthedale - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Hue looks like a real player to me. I would hope that a team in the A-League or in East Asia give him a shot and I would think a few of the other players who names I don’t remember have played well enough to get a look at as well.

    I do think the OFC should change their WCQ set up. Six of the 11 nations only played 3 games. I think they should go to a South American style Round Robin table with all teams. I think giving them more competitive games can only to improve the quality of the region as a whole. And if that is the case after a few cycles the teams could see their level of play to be able to grab a point or two in these tournaments (Confed Cup and WC) going forward.

  3. lyleoross - Jun 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    I agree, I watched both the Tahitian games and was amazingly impressed with their heart and passion. I’m glad they are at this event, they are setting an example for the world on what the sport should be. Not win at all costs, but play the game to win, even if you lose.

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