Jun 20, 2013, 5:24 PM EDT
Everyone was put in a tough position prior to this match.
With tiny Tahiti’s qualification for the Confederations Cup and drawn in the same group as the #1-ranked team in the world, it was an awkward situation for everyone involved.
The Tahitians went in knowing they’d be sent to the slaughter.
The Spaniards had to walk the line of professionalism and sportsmanship.
The fans were left unsure of whether to hope for excitement, an upset, goals, or a blowout.
In the end, Spain set the FIFA record for margin of victory and tied the record for goals in a match, and everyone got through the ordeal with their professional reputations intact, if not their egos.
It was a thrashing of epic proportions, but that doesn’t mean it was unsportsmanlike.
Spain should be praised for winning in an unparalleled fashion, but at the same time remaining entirely respectful and classy.
There were no individual displays of skill meant to show off and embarrass their lowly opponents. There was no showboating. The Spaniards congratulated their opponents at the end of the match and switched jerseys with the Tahitian players.
Most importantly, the Spain team showed the Tahiti squad as much respect as possible by not shutting the power down entirely. It was obvious Spain wasn’t trying their hardest – after Torres embarrassed himself with his missed penalty, the striker actually turned on the gas for once and the result was a goal within 30 seconds. However, the ultimate insult in a professional match would have been to stop trying altogether.
Tahiti must also be praised. They didn’t give up, and their manager Eddy Etaeta didn’t park the bus, instead choosing to press everyone forward. It backfired, but it represented an appreciation for the match, for the game, and for the opportunity presented to them. The squad should be lauded for taking this opportunity with open arms. They earned it (by FIFA’s standards, which one could argue should be reconsidered) and gave it their all. Spain recognized this.
Neither side played up fouls, nobody dove, no one got nasty, and everyone played with a respect for the situation.
The fans also should be commended. Each touch in the first half by Tahiti was cheered. Fans who begun rooting for goals ended up not only feeling bad about what they had been cheering for but also enjoyed the effort by the underdogs.
Even the referee should be lauded. He didn’t give the far better team calls for being better, and he didn’t give the poor underdogs any pity calls. It was a fairly called match, and the referee respected the game by doing so.
In a match which resulted in utter demolition on the scoreboard, it was the wonderful displays of respect, class, and professionalism that are the real story. The game is played by people, not numbers, and those people did us proud.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:35 PM EDT
Roundup of Euro 2016 qualifying matches from Saturday.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT
Both Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling will most likely be out of England’s friendly vs. Italy on Tuesday.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT
Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahmovic buries a strange one.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:20 PM EDT
England trounced Lithuania 4-0 in a Euro qualifier for their seventh-straight win since the World Cup, and captain Wayne Rooney likes what future lies ahead for his country.
Mar 27, 2015, 6:42 PM EDT
22-year-old Ventura Alvarado asserts that he would like to play for USMNT in the long term.
Mar 27, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
Manager Chris Coleman say Gareth Bale is only focused on the Wales’ “job in hand.”
Mar 27, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT
Suarez doesn’t think he could be classified as hooligan after his biting incidents.
Mar 27, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT
The New England Revolution have been on the losing end early in the season before.
Mar 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
No first cap just yet for Kane, though he’s expected to come off the bench in the second half.
Mar 27, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT
A resounding result for the 2016 Olympics hopefuls, away from home.
Mar 27, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT
Stoke City are on the verge of their first-ever top-10 finish in the Premier League, and Mark Hughes has been rewarded for his success.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT
Another bitter injury blow for Juventus, who now have just one fit, first-team central midfielder.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:11 AM EDT
Lampard is in the Big Apple, where he’ll spend time with his future teammates and watch them play Sporting KC.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:25 AM EDT
With a six-point lead in the league (and a game in hand), do Chelsea really need a “blessing in disguise” to win this year’s Premier League title?
Mar 27, 2015, 8:03 AM EDT
A star-depleted (international duty) Week 4 of MLS should still provide lots of entertainment and quality.
Mar 26, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT
If punditry doesn’t work for Scholes, sign him up as Man United’s top player recruiter. At least he aims high.
Mar 26, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT
Watch in 90 seconds the construction of Avaya Stadium, from Day 1 to Game 1.
Mar 26, 2015, 7:17 PM EDT
Another month out for Sturridge, just when Liverpool’s top-four dreams rest on his shoulders the most.
Mar 26, 2015, 6:54 PM EDT
You couldn’t get this one anymore wrong, UEFA. 10-times worse than racism? Not OK.
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