The pain, triumph and more pain of Tahiti’s goalkeeper in losing 10-0 to Spain
No one expected a tournament match between the best team in the world and the 138th best team in the world to be close. Tahiti had no delusions of a biblical upset against Spain in the Confederations Cup or even of a noble and defiant 1-0 defeat. Playing Spain at the legendary Maracana Stadium would be a once in a lifetime memory and the score would be irrelevant. It was always going to be an exercise in complete and total domination for Spain, but there tends to be a big difference between what people feel when they expect something to happen and what they feel when it actually happens.
Spain’s 10-0 win — the biggest win ever in a FIFA senior tournament — was perhaps most excruciating for Tahiti’s 30-year-old goalkeeper, Mickael Roche. The physical education teacher who once played for Monaco’s reserve team did not play in Tahiti’s first Confederations Cup group-stage match against Nigeria, a 6-1 loss, so this was his first taste of football at a level previously unheard of for a country this small.
Here’s how the day went for him…
“I hope the Spanish players like our shell necklace gifts. They took a while to make.”
“Ah! It only took Fernando Torres five minutes to score the first goal and then he stepped on my hand. I’m not sure if I’m still having fun…”
“3-0 in the 33rd minute. There’s a certain harmony to that, which I think I can appreciate if I pretend competition isn’t that important to me…”
“4-0 in the 49th minute. I’m starting to feel nauseous. I think my face is turning purple…”
“Maybe I should have a spa day. Just me, alone, no one scoring goals or stepping on my hands. That would be so amazing…”
“YES! Torres missed his penalty! It’s 8-0 and he hit the crossbar like a, well, like a Fernando Torres penalty kick! This is the greatest moment anyone has ever experienced!”
“Really? He couldn’t let me enjoy that for like, two minutes? 9-0. Whoever invented this game should be fired.”
“It’s over. It was 10-0 and I’m pretty sure I swallowed some grass, but it’s over. That was…great. I could have done without the accidental hand stomping, but, yeah — in a few days I’m really going to think this was great.”
“David Villa, you’re being nice now. I like you so much better when you’re not scoring goals on me. Shaking hands is nice. Why isn’t shaking hands a bigger part of football?”
“Never let go, Pepe.”
“Spain shirt. No shorts. Shinguards. Getting interviewed. This is definitely the best part. This is wonderful. Victory Roche. Victory. Roche.”