There’s no shame in running up the score, not in professional sports. FIFA are the one who should be embarrassed by a side like Tahiti playing next to World champions like Spain, and getting applauded after being mauled 10-0, while Fernando Torres became the first player in Confederations Cup history to score four goals in one match.
The only question before the match was at what point Spain would stop. Spain made 10 changes from their opening game lineup, leaving only Sergio Ramos in the lineup from the previous match. Fernando Torres, David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata got on the scoresheet, not showing any kind of remorse or plan to slow down, because there’s no need for it.
Over the last few years, Spain and Barcelona have used possession and slow ball movement to kill the offensive intentions of other teams. Against Tahiti, there was no need for it, and instead they kept on pushing for more and more goals. It might not look well for those looking for a bit more of competitiveness in their sport, but over 100 FIFA ranking spots between two sides makes a huge difference.
Torres? He had a chance to play 90 minutes, which hasn’t happened a lot this season, for both the national team and especially for Chelsea. This isn’t even close to one of his 20 best matches in his career, even if he did score four goals, because it has to do with his opponents, amateurs, all and every one of them except for Marama Vahirua, who isn’t exactly at the top of his trade in the French league.
This might rattle some cages in FIFA and make them consider the Oceania spot in the next tournament, or at least make the team that won the title go through a qualifying process in a playoff match to ensure they’re not going to look, well, disgraceful on the world’s biggest stage. If it was New Zealand or Australia (playing with the Asian teams now), it wouldn’t have been a problem. But the small island nations of the pacific can’t compete fairly with the likes of Spain, Uruguay, Nigeria and even much weaker sides that didn’t make it into the tournament.
For Torres? It was the easiest four goals he ever scored, while some in Spain might be disappointed at a missed opportunity at breaking their record from 1933, a 13-0 win over Bulgaria. But it’s not like they didn’t try, taking 27 shots at goal, 14 of them on target, 10 of them going in.
You can’t blame Tahiti, who did more than enough just to get there. Don’t blame Spain for being professionals and simply taking what’s given to them. This isn’t an educational stage of 12 year old’s who need to learn about respect and the value of games. This is about doing your best, regardless of who is in front of you. Blame FIFA? While Tahiti are the OFC champions, their entrance might call for a stricter path to the Confederations Cup in the future for these teams, hoping to avoid this kind of moment.