x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Confederations Cup: Spain outclass Tahiti with a perfect 10

Fernando Torres finished the match with four goals, while strike partner David Villa claimed a hat-trick in Spain's 10-0 romp of Tahiti at Estadio Maracana.

Fernando Torres, the striker, left, scored four goals in Spain's 10-0 win against Tahiti at the Confederations Cup in Brazil. Michael Regan / Getty Images
Fernando Torres, the striker, left, scored four goals in Spain's 10-0 win against Tahiti at the Confederations Cup in Brazil. Michael Regan / Getty Images

RIO DE JANEIRO // World champions Spain predictably outclassed tiny Tahiti at Estadio Maracana scoring 10 goals without response to go top of Group B and as good as secure their passage to the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Fernando Torres finished the match with four goals, while strike partner David Villa claimed a hat-trick. Two goals from David Silva and one from Juan Mata completed the rout against the French Polynesian island, ranked 138th in the world.

Tahitian goalkeeper Mikael Roche called the result "the worst" but conceded that "against the best team in the world, it reduces the pain".

Vicente del Bosque made 10 changes to the team that beat Uruguay 2-1, with Sergio Ramos the only player to retain his starting place. Eddy Etaeta, the Tahiti head coach, made a single alteration to the team that lost 6-1 to Nigeria, replacing goalkeeper Xavier Samin with Roche.

The Pacific islanders gifted each of the Spanish players a shell necklace before kick-off and, playing the role of underdogs, enjoyed strong support from the 71,000 spectators that filled the recently redeveloped stadium. As a result, Spain inherited the role of pantomime villains, their every touch jeered. When Torres opened the scoring after just five minutes, beating Roche at his near post, his celebration was met with boos.

Tahiti, home to only 180,000 people, had never played in front of such a large crowd and seemed buoyed by the show of support. They enjoyed more possession than they might have expected, although Torres provided an indicator that perhaps the world and European champions were not playing to full capacity when, with half an hour gone and comfortably leading 1-0, he elected to pass when through on goal.

Silva showed more ruthlessness moments later when he collected David Villa's through-ball and calmly slotted past Roche. Torres immediately added his second, beating the Tahitian offside trap again, this time rounding the goalkeeper and passing into an empty net.

Tahiti were playing a dangerously high defensive line and could have conceded again soon after, but Villa's shot found the side-netting. Any frustration the Barcelona forward was feeling at missing out on the goals disappeared when he got off the mark six minutes before half time, latching on to Silva's cross and slipping the ball past the helpless Roche to take the score to 4-0.

The 31 year old Villa notched his second five minutes into the second half and completed his hat-trick in the 64th minute when Roche spilt what should have been an easy save. By that point Torres had already converted a cutback from substitute Jesus Navas to claim his third.

Mata, Torres's Chelsea teammate, got in on the act after 66 minutes to take the score to 8-0 before Torres struck a penalty on to the cross bar after a harshly judged handball. Roche's celebration looked a little over-exuberant and Torres punished him a minute later when he showed electric pace to burst through on goal, round the keeper and fire into the net to claim his fourth of the evening.

In the final minutes, Silva completed the rout, taking Spain into double figures and eclipsing the 9-0 they managed against San Marino in 1999. Tahiti, meanwhile, despite having been thoroughly outplayed, received a standing ovation from the Maracana to cap an afternoon none of the team will forget.

"It is really very surprising what happened to us here, because despite the very lopsided competition and all the goals we have conceded, we have had an overwhelming support from the people in the Maracana," Etaeta, the coach, said. "We lost by 10 goals, but we won the hearts of the Brazilian public."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae