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Dirty Tackle

The pain, triumph and more pain of Tahiti’s goalkeeper in losing 10-0 to Spain

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

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"I made it. I made it!!!" (Getty)

No one expected a tournament match between the best team in the world and the 138th best team in the world to be close. Tahiti had no delusions of a biblical upset against Spain in the Confederations Cup or even of a noble and defiant 1-0 defeat. Playing Spain at the legendary Maracana Stadium would be a once in a lifetime memory and the score would be irrelevant. It was always going to be an exercise in complete and total domination for Spain, but there tends to be a big difference between what people feel when they expect something to happen and what they feel when it actually happens.

Spain's 10-0 win — the biggest win ever in a FIFA senior tournament — was perhaps most excruciating for Tahiti's 30-year-old goalkeeper, Mickael Roche. The physical education teacher who once played for Monaco's reserve team did not play in Tahiti's first Confederations Cup group-stage match against Nigeria, a 6-1 loss, so this was his first taste of football at a level previously unheard of for a country this small.

Here's how the day went for him...

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"I hope the Spanish players like our shell necklace gifts. They took a while to make."

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"Ah! It only took Fernando Torres five minutes to score the first goal and then he stepped on my hand. I'm not sure if I'm still having fun..."

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"3-0 in the 33rd minute. There's a certain harmony to that, which I think I can appreciate if I pretend competition isn't that important to me..."

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"4-0 in the 49th minute. I'm starting to feel nauseous. I think my face is turning purple..."

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"Maybe I should have a spa day. Just me, alone, no one scoring goals or stepping on my hands. That would be so amazing..."

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"YES! Torres missed his penalty! It's 8-0 and he hit the crossbar like a, well, like a Fernando Torres penalty kick! This is the greatest moment anyone has ever experienced!"

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"Really? He couldn't let me enjoy that for like, two minutes? 9-0. Whoever invented this game should be fired."

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"It's over. It was 10-0 and I'm pretty sure I swallowed some grass, but it's over. That was...great. I could have done without the accidental hand stomping, but, yeah — in a few days I'm really going to think this was great."

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"David Villa, you're being nice now. I like you so much better when you're not scoring goals on me. Shaking hands is nice. Why isn't shaking hands a bigger part of football?"

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"Never let go, Pepe."

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"Spain shirt. No shorts. Shinguards. Getting interviewed. This is definitely the best part. This is wonderful. Victory Roche. Victory. Roche."

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