On the eve of the 2013 Confederations Cup, we take a look at the team that is so vastly overmatched that it’s hard not to root for them. Here are five reasons to get behind Tahiti:
1) They are the ultimate underdog story. This is their first Confederations Cup appearance; they have never been to a tournament of this magnitude. They are currently the 138th ranked team in the world and have never been ranked above 111th.
2) They have one full-time professional soccer player on the team. Marama Vahirua plays for the Greek side Panthrakikos FC, a 10th place club in the Greek Super League, and scored 3 goals in 26 appearances. The rest of the team is full of part-time players who make a living as butchers, bakers, etc.
3) The team has four members from the same family. The Tehau family is represented by brothers Alvin, Lorenzo, Jonathan and their cousin Teaonui. All are under 25 years old and will hopefully have excellent stories to tell at the next family barbecue.
4) The city of Brasilia, home to the Confederations Cup opener, has a population 10 times the size of the country Tahiti. It will be hard to find a set of people happier and more appreciative than the Tahiti national team. Regardless of the result, they will surely have the biggest smiles you’ll see this summer.
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5) A $20 bet on Tahiti to win the entire tournament could net you $100,000. Let’s go Tahiti!