Spain fulfilled expectations as they recorded the biggest win ever in a senior FIFA tournament with a 10-0 defeat of Tahiti at the Maracana. Fernando Torres and David Villa took full advantage of the opportunities to enhance their international goal tallies with four and three goals, respectively, with the rest of the scoring coming via a double for David Silva and one for Juan Mata.
Despite Vicente del Bosque making 10 changes from the side that beat Uruguay 2-1 in their opening Group B encounter, the meeting with Tahiti was still the most striking example of David versus Goliath that has been seen in international competition. And the scoreline eventually bore that out, although particularly for a long spell in the first half, Spain were far from at their best. In truth it is difficult to know what La Roja garnered from what was for long spells a training exercise in all but name. The same cannot be said for Tahiti, however. While the Oceania champions didn’t get the goal they managed in their 6-1 defeat to Nigeria and there were some less than glorious moments for their goalkeeper, they again displayed admirable positivity and the memory of taking on perhaps the best international team ever will never be forgotten.
When Fernando Torres executed a one-two with his Chelsea teammate Juan Mata and then took advantage of some errant goalkeeping from Mikael Roche to squeeze a shot inside the near post after just five minutes, it looked like a truly humiliating massacre could be on the cards.
But Spain failed to immediately build on that advantage. Despite the undoubted quality in their second-string, their play lacked tempo and on more than once occasion their final pass let them down with Torres particularly culpable. As they did in their first match, Tahiti again refused merely to sit back and pack the edge of their own box. That strategy, though, was always likely to prove costly against a side with the quality of Spain and the goals started to pour in on the half-hour mark.
David Silva coolly slotted in the second goal after Villa had cut inside across the edge of the box before playing the Manchester City midfielder in. And just two minutes later Torres got his second of the contest. Tahiti’s highline cost them dear as the striker burst clear on goal and dinked the ball over the advanced Roche outside the area before finishing into the empty net. And the first-half scoring was complete courtesy of Spain’s all-time record scorer. Villa controlled a pass from Silva and poked a low shot to claim his 54th goal for his country.
Helped by the introduction of Jesus Navas for Sergio Ramos at half-time, Spain were more decisive after the break. Within 12 minutes of the restart, first Villa and then Torres were the recipients of good work out wide from Nacho Monreal and Navas to take Spain’s tally to six. Villa was soon to join his forward colleague with a hat-trick with the simplest of finishes after Roche had let a routine ball over the top bounce under his grasp. Mata also got on the act with a clinical finish to take advantage of a fortunate deflection on the edge of the box.
There was further incident for Torres. Having just struck a penalty against the bar, the striker, who has misfired in recent seasons for both club and country, added to his tally after rounding Roche. Finally, with a minute left on the clock Silva grabbed his second to eclipse the previous biggest victories at World Cups, held by Hungary and Yugoslavia.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.