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Rediff.com  » Sports » Confederations Cup: Merciless Spain thrash Tahiti, Forlan fires Uruguay

Confederations Cup: Merciless Spain thrash Tahiti, Forlan fires Uruguay

June 21, 2013 11:40 IST

Confederations Cup: Merciless Spain thrash Tahiti, Forlan fires Uruguay

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Spain won by a landslide as expected but tiny Tahiti emerged with their reputations enhanced and their dignity intact despite their 10-0 loss to the world and European champions in the Confederations Cup on Thursday.

Fernando Torres scored four times, and missed a penalty, David Villa hit three, David Silva two and Juan Mata one as Spain scored double figures for the third time in their history.

The outcome of one of the most unlikely matches to take place in a senior FIFA competition was never in doubt and even Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta said before the game his side's chances of winning were "quite impossible".


Image: Spain's Fernando Torres celebrates after scoring against Tahiti during their Confederations Cup Group B match at the Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday
Photographs: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

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'Tahiti showed a great example of how to go about playing football'

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Despite the Group B hammering, Tahiti played some attractive attacking football against a second-string Spain side that still contained some of the biggest names in European soccer including Sergio Ramos and Pepe Reina.

"Often inferior teams look to break up the game and get aggressive, they play without spirit or hope. Standards aside, Tahiti showed a great example of how to go about playing football," Torres told Spain's Telecinco television after a record Confederations Cup victory.

"We have tried to show them respect in every sense. We tried to play well, to play simple football, and to score goals and these goals will be important for the next stage."

Tahiti's first meeting with European opposition was more of an occasion than a match in many respects, and the fans created a superb atmosphere in the newly refurbished Maracana, the venue for next year's World Cup final.


Image: Spain's Fernando Torres (2nd from right) is challenged by Tahiti's Edson Lemaire (centre) and Teheivarii Ludivion (right) during their Confederations Cup Group B match at the Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday
Photographs: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

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Tahiti had huge support at the Maracana

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The fans cheered every Tahiti pass and tackle and roundly booed Spain.

Two of the loudest cheers were for two fine saves made by 20-year-old Tahiti goalkeeper Mikael Roche midway through the second half with his side already 7-0 down.

The first goal arrived after only five minutes when Torres scored in the huge gap which Roche left between himself and the near post.

Tahiti, who lost 6-1 to Nigeria first up and next face Uruguay on Sunday, kept Spain at bay for the next 26 minutes and weaved some neat passing moves together with Teheivarii Ludivon providing some of the best distribution for his side.

But they were unable to make any real impact on the Spanish defence apart from a fine angled shot from Ricky Aitamai just before halftime.


Image: Tahiti's players greet their fans before their Confederations Cup Group B match against Spain at the Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday
Photographs: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

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Spain flexed their muscles after the break

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By then Spain were already well in control and leading 4-0 with Silva, Torres and Villa all finding the target in an eight-minute spell.

But despite Spain's obvious superiority against the Oceania champions, who are ranked 138th in the world, the amateurs from the South Pacific never stopped trying to play football to the delight of the 71,000-plus crowd.

Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla even earned himself a booking for a clumsy challenge in the first half, which ended with the crowd cheering Tahiti off.

Spain flexed their muscles after the break with Villa adding two more and Torres one in the first 15 minutes of the second half before Mata made it eight when he got a lucky deflection after a one-two with David Silva.


Image: Tahiti's Edson Lemaire (2nd from right) fights for the ball with Spain's Santi Cazorla (right) during their Confederations Cup Group B match at the Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday
Photographs: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

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'We played a good game, we took it seriously'

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Torres then missed a penalty after 78 minutes, prompting a huge cheer from the crowd, but got his fourth goal and Spain's ninth a minute later when he rounded Roche to score.

Silva made it double figures in the 89th minute after another move that slit open the Tahiti defence.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque, whose side beat Uruguay in their opener and next play Nigeria on Sunday, said: "We played a good game, we took it seriously and our superiority was evident.

"I don't think the stadium were against Spain. I think it was more to do with things beyond the stadium. We have seen in the previous game, and in the street, everyone has shown us great affection."

Protests about the cost of living and the cost of the World Cup have rocked Brazil in recent days.


Image: Spain's goalkeeper Pepe Reina (left) embraces Tahiti's goalkeeper Mikael Roche after their Confederations Cup Group B match at the Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday
Photographs: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

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Century man Forlan takes Uruguay to brink of semis

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Diego Forlan celebrated his 100th cap with a goal at the start of the second half to secure Uruguay a 2-1 win over Nigeria and all but guarantee their place in next week's Confederations Cup semi-finals.

The result continued Uruguay's undefeated record against African opponents in 12 encounters and left them hot favourites to join Spain in the last four.

Nigeria must now beat the reigning world champions and hope Uruguay falter against minnows Tahiti.

Both teams lined up attacking formations with Nigeria playing a conventional 4-3-3 and Uruguay playing Suarez, Forlan and Cavani together for the first time in the tournament.


Image: Uruguay's Diego Forlan celebrates after scoring against Nigeria during their Confederations Cup Group B match at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on Thursday
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Nigeria slowly came into the game

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Neither team was able to impose themselves for long periods, however, and there were few clear cut chances in an often lackluster match.

It was Uruguay who took the lead in the 19th minute when captain Diego Lugano was on hand to bundle a low cross from Forlan into the net.

Nigeria slowly came into the game and they equalised in the 37th minute when John Obi Mikel controlled a Brown Ideye pass to side-foot the ball into the top of the net from 12 yards.

Uruguay went ahead again in the 51st minute and it was a move that involved all three of their front men. 


Image: Nigeria's players celebrate after John Obi Mikel scored the equaliser against Uruguay during their Confederations Cup Group B match at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on Thursday
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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The best chance of the second period fell to Cavani

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Luis Suarez broke from midfield, fed Edinson Cavani outside the box and he passed to Diego Forlan who hammered the ball into the roof of the net from an angle.

Nigeria saw plenty of the ball in the second half but they seldom threatened Fernando Muslera in goal.

The best chance of the second period fell to Cavani who chested down a lovely cross-field pass from Forlan but then blazed his shot over.

The 49,000-capacity arena was less than half-full before kickoff, with some fans unable to reach the ground because of violent protests outside, according to local media.


Image: Uruguay's Alvaro Pereira (left) fights for the ball with Nigeria's John Obi Mikel during their Confederations Cup Group B match at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on Thursday
Photographs: Jorge Silva/Reuters

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