It may sound like a harsh and unfair assessment, but it’s quite clear in this June 21 match-up who’s the favorite and who’s the underdog.
Tahiti qualified for the 2013 Confederations Cup by virtue of being the 2012 Oceania Cup winner. They managed to win five straight matches and clinch a victory over New Caledonia in the finals. However, they’re out of the running for the 2014 World Cup, as they only won one game (2-0 against the Solomon Islands) in the qualifiers. Tahiti would need to work on cranking out a consistent winning performance against New Caledonia and New Zealand, among others, if it can truly be considered a good opponent against Spain.
Spain, on the other hand, has the psychological advantage over Tahiti, and possibly over every opponent it will encounter this year. The Spaniards hold both the 2010 World Cup and 2012 Euro Cup championships, and it hasn’t lost any of its last five matches: 5-1 against Panama, 3-1 against Uruguay, 1-1 against Finland, 1-0 against France, and 2-1 against Haiti. Even legendary ex-striker Ronaldo bets that Spain will win over his native Brazil in this year’s Confederations Cup.
The best thing Tahiti can hope for in this match-up is that it will be a great learning experience for them. The home-grown players have likely never seen action outside Oceania, and the foreign environment provided by Brazilian stadiums can prove disorienting for them. Still, the likes of Lorenzo Tehau, Stephance Taatiaru, Raimana Lee Fung Kuee, Xavier Samin, and Axel Williams should do their best not to let Coach Eddy Etaeta down.