Tahiti is no soccer powerhouse, not even close, as it was proven on the soccer field after a 10-0 loss to the current European champions Spain.
But the island nation, which is ranked 138 in the world standing didn’t come to the Confederation’s Cup in Brazil to win. Their objective was to score at least one goal.
They knew they didn’t have much of a change with a group that included not only Spain but Nigeria and Uruguay.
Well, they reached their objective by scoring one goal in another blowout match against Nigeria which they lost 6-1.
The team from Tahiti, known as the Toa Aito, which means Great Warriors is made up of mostly amateurs, they only have one professional player in the country, Marama Vahirua, who plays in for the French team Nancy.
The have a group of very promising young players who won the hearts of the Brazilian crowd. The fans were clearly favoring the Polynesian team in all their matches.
Tahiti not only made an impression with the fans, but with rival teams. “They are the example for other teams,” Spanish striker Fernando Torres told reporters after the match.
“All of us have become big fans of that team. 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 added.
The game was played in a stadium that held a crowd reported at 71,000 people, about more than a quarter of the total population of Tahiti.
The losers were given a standing ovation at the final whistle by fans who cheered almost every move made by the Oceania team.
Tahiti was successful in winning many hearts in Brazil on their first experience in international soccer.