2013 CONFEDERATIONS CUP

Defending champs Spain smack Tahiti

MERCY RULE
Spain's David Villa celebrates after scoring his hat trick against Tahiti on Thursday.
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP)

In a one-sided match at the Confederations Cup, World Cup winner Spain routed the Pacific islanders from Tahiti 10-0 on Thursday - a result that wasn't as bad as some had suggested beforehand.

Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta said he feared Spain might get as many as 20 goals.

Still, the winning margin was the largest in a Confederations Cup match. The previous record margin for the World Cup test-run tournament was six, when Brazil beat Saudi Arabia 8-2 in 1999 and when Brazil beat Australia 6-0 in 1997.

Fernando Torres, who missed a penalty late in the match, scored four goals. David Villa added three goals, David Silva two and Juan Mata one.

Tahiti was the crowd favorite at the Maracana stadium with Brazilians wildly cheering the underdogs and jeering Spain. When Spanish midfielder Mata tried to score with a bicycle kick with the score at 4-0, the effort was met with loud booing.

Marama Vahirua's Tahiti suffered the worst Confederations Cup loss in history (Photo: Felipe Dana/Getty Images)

Torres' miss from a penalty late also drew wild cheers. The ball bounded off the crossbar and Tahiti keeper Mikael Roche raised his hands in celebration - as if he'd stopped it.

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The match had the tone of a practice game - or an exhibition. Even before it began, the outcome was never in doubt.

The spirit was set by Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta, who put a flower lei around the neck of Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque. Etaeta, who called playing Spain a ''Christmas present,'' warned before the match that Spain might score 15 or 20 goals.

Tahitian players also draped trinkets around the neck of the Spanish players just before the start, another gesture of friendship and respect.

Tahiti attacked from the start and was just 1-0 down after 15 minutes, making light of the gulf between the world champions and a team made up of amateurs who hold down day jobs. But that did not last long, with Spain leading 4-0 at the break.

The match was lopsided, but there have been worse.

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The Tahitians tired in the second half and only found their way into the Spanish half a handful of times. Spain added six and could easily have added plenty more. Despite letting in 10, Roche made several fine saves to the joy of the Brazilian crowd.

The match was lopsided, but there have been worse. The largest margin of victory in a FIFA match came in 2001, when Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 in Oceania qualifying for the World Cup.

In the World Cup, the record is nine, set three times. Hungary beat South Korea 9-0 in 1954, Yugoslavia routed Zaire 9-0 in 1974 and Hungary defeated El Salvador 10-1 in 1982. The biggest rout in soccer history happened in 2002 when Stade Olympique de l'Emyrne scored 149 own-goals in a match against AS Adema in Madagascar in protest of what it claimed was partial refereeing.

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