OT - is today the biggest mismatch in world soccer history?

Submitted by superstringer on June 20th, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Spain v. Tahiti, at 3pm ET today.  Spain has won its last 3 major competitions (two Euro's and one WC), which no other team has ever done.  Core of this team had a 35-game unbeaten streak 4 years ago (the USA, oddly, snapped that), and currently has something like a 27-game unbeaten streak.

Meanwhile, Tahiti fields a total of ONE professional player, the rest are amateurs.  Tahiti's total population is like 150,000 or something.

It's being called the greatest mismatch in the history of major international football competitions.  The burning question is -- does Spain score at will (Tahiti's own coach expects over 20 goals for Spain), or, does Spain just score enough (5 to 8) then back off and play catch.

In England and Germany, the culture is to respect your opponent by playing your hardest -- meaning, keep scoring; because if you back off, you have disrespected him.  In South America and the US, we have the opposite approach.

What say you?  I think the final will be 10-0.  And 7-0 at halftime.

EDIT:  Clairvoyant me.  Final was, indeed, 10-0.



June 20th, 2013 at 9:30 AM ^

Have to respect a bunch of teachers and ordinary workers playing the best soccer team in the world. I think Spain pulls back after the half and wins 8-0.

I also was really glad to see Tahiti score in their opening game, seemed like their main goal coming into the tournament.


June 20th, 2013 at 9:33 AM ^

I'd be shocked if Spain starts many of their normal players. Even then, anything less than 10-0 would mean that Spain spent the second half playing keep away. Shit, they do that to good teams (spend the second half playing keep away, I mean.)


June 20th, 2013 at 10:28 AM ^

Spain is going to be sitting Casillas, their goalie.  Everyone else will be starting.  Andres Iniesta has been quoted as saying that Spain will be playing their hardest, otherwise it would be an insult to Tahiti.  But yes, 10-0 first half is not out of the question, and Spain will be using all three of their reserves at halftime, but even then, a 15-0 or 20-0 final score is not out of the question.

snarling wolverine

June 20th, 2013 at 2:56 PM ^

It won't matter too much today, but against normal competition there is a key difference - the Spanish starting eleven has been playing together forever (since it's drawn almost entirely from just two teams - Barcelona and Real Madrid), which is where its excellent chemistry comes form.  The backups are talented, but they don't have the same cohesion.




June 20th, 2013 at 1:28 PM ^

The European World Cup qualifiers have some teams (e.g. San Marino) that are ranked well below Tahiti, and the most lopsided game so far has been 8-0. I think Spain will score 2 or 3 early goals and then go into their preferred ball-control mode, and the final will end up somewhere between 6-0 and 9-0.


June 20th, 2013 at 9:58 AM ^

Depends on what lines they're offering, that 500-1 is probably the moneyline on Tahiti to win outright but they may not have a moneyline for Spain to win. If you bet the points Spain would have to win by  whatever the line was (-7.5 for instance would mean that Spain has to win by 8 or more goals for your bet to win).


June 20th, 2013 at 10:08 AM ^

biggest soccer mismatch of all time would have been my team vs. "the purple team" in a match held in 1992.  Those losers had no chance.


June 20th, 2013 at 10:26 AM ^

It was either Spain or Brazil that played North Korea at the last world cup, that was probably as much of a mismatch, but still go Tahiti. That Tahiti/Nigeria match could have been a lot closer, I thought Tahiti should have had two more goals and Nigeria could have easily had two less goals (first one was a double deflection and the third was a fumble by the Tahitian keeper). Granted Nigeria did dribble the ball over the end line three or four times with a wide open net infront of them.

Hopefully we get to see more of this sometime this tournament:


June 20th, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

I get creeped out thinking about sure thing wins and greatest upset in the history of [insert sport] on a Michigan Blog just a few years since The Horror ruined my first ever trip to Aspen.


June 20th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

I just don't understand pro soccer. You have countries right? That's what FIFA is right (like basketball has FIBA and football IFAF)? Then what the hell is Manchester and Chelsea and then the entire MLS? How come I never see Manchester in the world cup if they're so good?


June 20th, 2013 at 1:07 PM ^

If you don't follow it, your question is not surprising.  Even if it took me aback for a second.

Think of soccer as two universes - club soccer and national soccer.  They are independent.  So the Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona world is like the NBA except each major country has its own league.  (Germany, Britain, Spain and lesser leagues in Mexico, US, Brazil etc).  So the "NBA" teams play not only in their own leagues for normal play, but 'cross league' in major tournaments.  So it would be like the top teams of NBA Germany playing top teams of NBA England.  Those are tournaments you hear of like Champions League.

Now completely independent is the World Cup - and its simple to understand.  It is when we split up the NBA players into their country's teams and match them up as in the Olympics.  

On a related note I think soccer players have the most brutal schedule of any sport.  Which is why many seem to peak in late 20s/early 30s.  (not all, but many)  If you are a top notch player, playing for a top notch team, and for a country who advances to World Cup you pretty much are going 11 months a year if you include exhibitions.  No chance to recharge or any 'off season' for these cats.

snarling wolverine

June 20th, 2013 at 2:44 PM ^

On a related note I think soccer players have the most brutal schedule of any sport. Which is why many seem to peak in late 20s/early 30s.

Soccer players do have brutal schedules, but athletes in pretty much all sports peak at those ages.  Generally speaking, muscle recovery slows down after the late 20's.



June 20th, 2013 at 4:50 PM ^

You know the best team in the world which is either the Heat or Spurs depending on tonight's NBA Finals result. They don't play in FIFA sanctioned events like FIFA championships or Olympics.

Same thing applys to soccer. Man U, Chelsea, Barca, Real Madrid are considered to be one of the best team in the world but don't play in FIFA sanctioned events because they're a club team just like Spurs/Heat in the NBA.


June 20th, 2013 at 12:06 PM ^

I dont know how bad Tahiti really is, but they must have won their region's championship last year to qualify for this tourney, right? Australia used to compete in their natural group for World Cup Qualifying against some of the other island nations. They would often win vs the worst teams by scoring 10-20 goals per game. They finally petitioned FIFA to move to the Asian group.