Confederations Cup Diary - Nobody Likes A Liberty-Taker

18 June 2013 12:21
Nigeria were in the classic no-win situation when they faced Tahiti at Belo Horizonte.  

They were always going to be seen as the big bad bully, throwing their weight around against the little no-hopers, while even their 6-1 win - a remarkably 'respectable' result for Tahiti in view of some of the pre-match forecasts - led to the Nigerians being bad-mouthed by their own people. They were far from impressive and will have to be much sharper when they come up against Uruguay and Spain.


Logging on to FF yesterday morning and checking out westbarns post previewing this match, I was disappointed to find some Bears suggesting that Tahiti should not be allowed to compete in the Confederations Cup. C'mon, they won the Oceania Nations Cup fair and square so why shouldn't they be in Brazil? Ferfuxxake, have you guys never heard of sporting integrity?


Nobody would be complaining if New Zealand had qualified but the Kiwis lost in the semi-final of the Nations Cup, going down 2-0 to New Caledonia, yet Tahiti beat the self-same New Caledonia 4-3 in their group and again 1-0 in the final.  If Tahiti are regarded as an embarrassment to the Oceania Confederation, maybe the other nations, most noteably New Zealand, should take a long hard look at themselves.


Another FF poster Kiwi True Blue GordonGlenWatson was a mine of information, pointing out that Lionel Charbonnier had actually coached Tahiti's Under-20s to the 2009 World Championship in Egypt.  The Great Charbo would have been less than impressed by their results - 0-5 v Nigeria, 0-8 v Spain, 0-8 v Venezuela - but if the senior team was to to return from Brazil with the same sort of record they would probably be regarded as legends in Tahitian society.


By all accounts, Tahiti let their Nations Cup success go to their heads and their World Cup qualifying campaign is already as dead as Scotland's.  So this is as good as it will get for their current crop of players, a once in a lifetime opportunity to appear on the big stage.  Go on guys, go for it!


Tahiti really needed to keep things tight at the start but a nasty double-deflection taking a Echiejile shot into the net, a simple finish from Oduamadi and a goalkeeping howler which presented Oduamadi with another had the minnows 3-0 down inside the first 25 minutes.  All the talk of the Africans rattling up double figures didn't look in the least bit over-dramatic.


But Tahiti actually did have a go, creating several first half opportunities, even winning a corner - GIRUY Pat Nevin!!!  Then nine minutes into the second half Tahiti had their eureka moment.  A corner kick from Vahirua was flighted in towards the back post and Jonathan Tehau climbed above Effie Ambrose (nee McClumpha!) to score with a close range header. 


Ponder this one, Bears.  Tahiti forced two corner kicks in the game, getting a goal from one of them, a 50% success rate.  Maybe we should invite coach Eddy Eteata and some of his players over to Auchenhowie to show our lot how to take corners!!!


For a while it look like they might stun the world by keeping the score at 3-1.  But Jonathan Tehau clearly took a liking to this stardom lark and, having written his name into the record books by scoring at one end, did it again at the other end with an OG, Oduamadi went on to complete his hat-trick and Echiejile made it 6-1, with the help of another dodgy deflection.


It wasn't the embarrassment so many feared, indeed Tahiti emerged from the game with a lot of credit, although against better opposition they would surely have suffered something horrendous.  In defence of the Nigerians, they only arrived in Brazil in the early hours of the morning of the match, with the players the the FA having been at loggerheads over bonus money.  I trust they weren't on too big a bonus to break any records against Tahiti.


My money is still on Uruguay and Spain to qualify from this group.  All will become clearer on Thursday night when Nigeria, having had a few days to acclimatise to conditions, face up to the South Americans.  God only knows what will happen to Tahiti against Spain.


But Xavi, Iniesta and company can't expect to make too many new friends if they really go for the jugular.





World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 14:57