Oceania Football Confederation > News > FIFA U-20 World Cup > Tahiti poised for World Cup debut

Tahiti poised for World Cup debut

Never before has Tahiti featured at a FIFA World Cup finals and their opening challenge couldn’t be greater with a first-up match against Spain – one of the favourites of the U-20 tournament.
The match will be played at Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on Friday (25 September) with kick-off at 9:30pm local time.
Coach Lionel Charbionnier, a former goalkeeper who has one France cap to his name and was a non-playing member of Le Bleus squad that won France ’98, says his players face a difficult task ahead.
“I can’t say if we’re going to win any of our games but we’ll be putting our hearts into each match and a lot of discipline too,” says Charbonnier, whose club career included time at Auxerre, Glasgow Rangers and Lausanne.
Charbonnier says he wants his players to approach the Spain match like a friendly international.
“It is a big occasion but I need my players to stay relaxed and play their natural game. They can’t do that if they feel too much pressure.”
Meanwhile Spanish coach Luis Milla isn’t taking any chances against the underdogs.
“We can’t afford to take Tahiti lightly because if you start a game badly, or lose concentration, you can make life difficult for yourself, especially when it’s your opening match.”
Tahiti Nui qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup by winning the OFC U-20 Championship on home soil in December last year, beating firm favourites New Zealand along the way.
In doing so they became the first island nation in Oceania to qualify for a FIFA tournament other than the Futsal and Beach Soccer World Cups.
Leading up to the FIFA event, the Tahitians have spent six weeks in France playing warm-up matches in Auxerre and Bordeaux plus a further one week acclimatising in Alexandria where they lost 0-2 to hosts Egypt last weekend. Earlier in the year the young squad played in the national men’s league – Tahitian D1 Championnat.
As outsiders in Egypt, Tahiti will need a strong showing from goalkeeper Teheipuarii Huata who was beaten just once during the qualifying tournament. At the other end of the field the Tehau brothers will look to combine on set pieces with Lorenzo a dead-ball specialist and Alvin having a strong eye for goal.
Likely stars for Spain include Daniel Parejo – currently on loan from Real Madrid at Getafe – and Sergio Asenjo – currently first-choice goalkeeper at Atletico de Madrid.
Following the Spain clash, Tahiti will play Group B opponents Venezuala (28 September) and Nigeria (1 October). The 24-team tournament kicks off Thursday 24 September with the opening match between hosts Egypt and Trinidad & Tobago in Alexandria and runs until Friday 16 October.
Full tournament coverage will be provided by FIFA.com
Priscilla Duncan
Oceania Football Confederation
Media & Communications
T: +649 526 5651
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Joel Tiller
Oceania Football Confederation
Media & Communications
T: +649 526 5654
F: +649 525 8164
M:+64 (0)21 994 520
E: [email protected]

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