Spain B team unlikely to show Tahiti any mercy

World champions Spain will field a second-string side against Oceania champions Tahiti in the Confederations Cup on Thursday but are unlikely to show any mercy in what is expected to be a one-sided carnival of football at the Maracana stadium.

One of the more unlikely competitive matches in any major FIFA competition pits the amateurs from the South Pacific against a team that has won two European titles and the World Cup in the last five year,s and earned comparisons with the great Brazil side of 1970 widely regarded as the best team in history.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, speaking to the media before the Group B match, said he and his team were taking their opponents very seriously and would treat them with the utmost respect.

However, he revealed that captain Iker Casillas, who played in Sunday's 2-1 win over Uruguay, would be rested and squad members who did not feature against the South American champions would also get a run-out.

"There will definitely be a change in goal and those who did not play against Uruguay will play," he told a news conference.

"It's not showing the opponent a lack of respect but an attempt to maintain balance," added the former Real Madrid boss.

"It helps improve relationships when everyone feels useful. The 23 players I have are starters for their clubs and they are all capable of playing for the national team.

"It is often difficult when you are facing a weaker opponent but you have to show all your virtues and try to win.

"We also have to show them total respect and naturally we want to score as many goals as possible."

While Spain began the tournament with an impressive performance against Uruguay in Recife, Tahiti won plenty of praise for the way they played in their 6-1 defeat by Nigeria in Belo Horizonte.

Although they were well beaten in the end and could have lost by a bigger margin if Nigeria had been more clinical in front of goal, they were trailing by a respectable 3-1 scoreline until 20 minutes from the end.


Andres Iniesta, one of seven in the Spanish squad looking to seal a ninth major honour from nine competitions for club and country, summed up the feeling among the players when he told reporters that they would go into the match taking nothing for granted.

"We will show them the utmost respect but we want to score," the Barcelona playmaker said.

"Our main objective is to win the game, play well and get the three points and advance in this tournament.

"But Tahiti have nothing to lose and showed a great spirit against Nigeria.

"To me it does not matter if the opponents are less well known or not, they deserve to be respected and we will do that."

Spain's record victory was established just over 80 years ago when they beat Bulgaria 13-0 in a friendly in May 1933 and their biggest competitive success came in 1983 when they beat Malta 12-1 in a European qualifier.

London bookmakers William Hill have offered odds of a Spain victory of 1/200 meaning to win one pound a gambler has to hand over 200.

There may be no doubt about the outcome and if Spain really show Tahiti no mercy in front of an expected 70,000 crowd both of those records could well be beaten.