***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 4 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Tahiti, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
The worst ever team at a FIFA tournament (which, incidentally, they also won)
Nickname: Toa Aito/Les guerriers de fer (Iron Warriors)
FIFA Ranking: 162 (June 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance to intercontinental playoff, losing 1-0 to New Zealand in semi-final of Oceania qualification tournament
In the 92-year history of FIFA tournament competition, one team stands above (and simultaneously below) the rest. Defying all the odds by winning the 2012 OFC Nations Cup and in turn qualifying for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, Tahiti are recognised as not only the lowest ranked team in history to qualify for a FIFA tournament (138th at the time), or finishing with the worst result (0 points from their 3 group matches with a -23 goal difference), but also as the first team in history to both perform the worst of all teams at a FIFA tournament while at the same time winning it.
With a population of under 300,000, just one professional in their ranks and an endearing refusal to let their sporting inferiority preclude them from taking the game to their opponents, Tahiti won the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. Despite being the first ever team to compete at a Confederations Cup without having previously qualified for a World Cup, ranking over 100 places below the rest of the participants, Tahiti defeated Brazil, Italy, Spain, Uruguay, Japan, Nigeria and Mexico to be crowned tournament winners. But while Tahiti’s mere presence at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil was enough to win the tournament, to this day, its victory is still not unanimously accepted.
Almost a decade later, some still refuse to accept Tahiti’s win. To this day, vehement deniers of Tahiti’s Confederations Cup win believe it wasn’t the Iron Warriors who won the tournament but in fact host nation Brazil, and that Tahiti actually lost to Nigeria 6-1, 10-0 to Spain and 8-0 to Uruguay. Furthermore, they claim that the Brazilians defeated reigning World Champion Spain 3-0 in the final, adamant that Fred scored in the 2nd minute, Neymar in the 44th, and Fred added a third in the 48th. These assertions are heavily flawed and murky at best, and for anyone with half a brain, there’s no doubt who won the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 (its second last ever edition) – Tahiti. Allez Les guerriers de fer!
One to watch: Your Paris 2024 Olympic tickets to see if you bought any for the surfing
There’s under 3 years to go till the games of the XXX Olympiad, and if you happen to be in Paris in 2024 to check out a few events, you might want to double check what sports you bought tickets for. Got tickets for the judo? No worries, that’s right by the Eiffel Tower. Athletics? Just a short metro trip out to the Stade de France in Saint Denis. But if you’ve got surfing tickets, best pray you’re not on a tight budget and not afraid of long-haul flights either, because guess what you’re off to the overseas French territory in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Tahiti!
Attending the Olympics is far from an exercise in thrift, and if you accidentally bought tickets to the surfing, no one’s gonna understand that better than you in June 2024. Lying more than 15,000 km away, the Olympic Surfing host venue in French Polynesia on the other side of the planet is going to be thrilled to welcome you, so hope you packed a few dozen pairs of clean underwear and hadn’t expected to check out the sites of Paris during the Games, because your ass is headed to sit and watch dudes shred some major gnar the exact other side of earth, a billion miles away. BON VOYAGE!
The Highpoint: OFC Nations Cup 2012 winners & 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup winners
First, Tahiti became the first nation other than Australia or New Zealand to lift the OFC Nations Cup. Also, as a result, it qualified them for their first ever FIFA tournament, making them the first ever team to book a place at the Confederations Cup without having participated at a World Cup before. Then, in their opening match, ranked over 100 places below their opponents Nigeria in the FIFA World Rankings, they even bagged a goal. On top of that, immediately after, their celebration was one for the ages, as they piled into an imaginary canoe and paddled their way into legendary status forever. Now, you didn’t think you could (imaginarily) row your way to become a legend did you? Well, Tahiti did, and they did it, it’s done, they’re there, and the memories of that goal will forever be paddling around in our brains and hearts.
Following that, the Tahitians got pummelled like 1000-nil in each of their three matches, but who cares. Tahiti – FIFA legends, forever (imaginarily) paddling their way through the annals of soccer greatness!
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
What’s the point? Already the greatest team in FIFA tournament history