Rio de Janeiro – Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta said it would be “quite impossible” for his team to beat world champions Spain today but even if Spain scored 20 goals, he would be happy if Tahiti grabbed one.
“We must be highly realistic and it is impossible for us to beat Spain, quite impossible. They are the European and the world champions and the favourites to win this Confederations Cup tournament.
“But even if they score 15 or 20 goals, I would be happy if we scored one.”
The match at Rio’s famous Maracana stadium is one of the more surreal contests in the tournament, but could be overshadowed by a massive protest planned by Brazilians who have been staging demonstrations around the country over a host of grievances.
A victory for Tahiti, ranked 138th in the world, would stand as the biggest upset in the history of international soccer.
Etaeta said that even if Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque were to field a mostly second-string team, it would still probably involve players like Fernando Torres and David Villa.
“Spain have won two European titles and the World Cup and the players on the bench are all stars. Spain is the top football nation and Uruguay only managed 28% possession against them on Sunday, and I would be happy with that.
“But whatever happens, I do not want to play defensively and sit back and stay in our own half. When we get the ball I want us to go forward and look for a goal.”
Tahiti were beaten 6-1 by Nigeria in their opening Group B game on Monday, but won acclaim for not making life all that easy for the African champions.
But they were poor in defence and Etaeta said young goalkeeper Mikael Roche would replace Xavier Simon in goal.
All 23 players in the squad would make an appearance in the tournament by the time Tahiti finished their last match against Uruguay on Sunday, the coach added.
“Xavier is 35 or 36, so I wanted to thank him for his beautiful career in Oceania, but Mikael is part of the future of Tahitian soccer and he will play this game and Gilbert Meriel will play in goal against Uruguay.
“We want to show our amateur values and I want all my players to benefit from playing here, which can only help us in the future.
“We know Spain will win and want to win and score a lot of goals, but even so for us this is like Christmas and we will pick up our Christmas gift tomorrow when we play the world champions.”
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