30 Sep 2014
Beach soccer fervor continues in Tahiti
The Tiki Toa hosts England for two friendly matches from the 26-27 of September, commemorating the 1 year anniversary of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013
Exactly one year ago Tahiti held the seventh edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and it was a smashing success. In honour of the thrilling event, which ended on September 28th, 2013 with Russia successfully defending their title by defeating Spain, Tahiti and England played two games in front of hoards of beach soccer fans. The legions of followers have maintained and even increased their love of the sport after the cornerstone was built with the conception and implementation of the last World Cup.
The masses came to see two great nations compete on the sand and they were treated with thrilling matches, both won by the home side. The first match was a complete effort from the hosts as they used star player Tairui to jump out to an early two goal lead. Labaste then joined the Tahitian scoring party before Clarke got England on the board at 3-1. Tahiti would add a late goal to seal the 4-1 victory. The second match was even more thrilling as the Tiki Toa won again but by a slimmer margin at 3-2. The first goal came from the keeper of Tahiti, Torhia, due in part to the two teams playing suffocating defense and the only openings for shots came from long range. Clarke leveled things for the Three Lions when he found the back of the net. The teams then exchanged goals and things looked to be headed to overtime, but with just over a minute left, Bennett scored for the hosts to give them the emotional victory.
Not only was the entire 2013 World Cup a roaring triumph, showing the ascendance of beach soccer in the region, but it also marked the Tahiti Nui’s placement in the pantheon of beach soccer greats as they finished in fourth place, their best ever finish. The two matches played against England were a great example of beach soccer’s foothold in Tahiti, and the excitement is still growing for future games and events. This commemorative event marks the beginning of the trail back to the World Cup for Tahiti, England missed out on their chance during the FBSWC 2015 Europe Qualifier Jesolo - Italy. Tahiti plays in the Oceana Football Confederation and will have their qualifier in the coming months.