Uruguay vs Tahiti: Biggest Takeaways from Lopsided Rout
There's much, much more to take away from Uruguay's 8-0 victory over Tahiti in the FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup than the simple lack of quality competition between the two sides.
While the Uruguayans advance to the semifinal round and Tahiti closes the book on a woeful, three-match performance in Brazil, conclusions need to be drawn from the lopsided match that ended the group stage.
Let's dive into the biggest takeaways from Uruguay vs. Tahiti on Sunday.
Tahiti has no business in this tournament
Let me be the millionth person to echo this statement.
As if Tahiti's opening-match loss to Nigeria wasn't enough, a 6-1 affair in which the winning side hardly looked up to par, perhaps the combined 18 goals given up in two matches to Spain and Uruguay can be the deciding factor.
It's important to not be too harsh to the Tahitians and remember that it's a team made up mostly of amateurs. Their willingness to come out, play hard and fight to the end despite being clobbered on the scoreline is nothing short of admirable.
Tahiti qualified for the Confederations Cup by winning the 2012 OFC Nations Cup, beating out the likes of New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and other teams from Oceania. And if it weren't for Australia's departure from the OFC, they would've been nearly a shoe-in for the qualifying spot. In fact, Tahiti was the first country other than Australia and New Zealand to win the OFC Nations Cup.
Nobody can take away the fact that this group of mostly amateur footballers qualified for one of the more notable tournaments in international football.
But after being outscored 24-1 in just three matches on the major international stage, it's no secret that Tahiti simply doesn't belong on this stage.
Abel Hernandez is learning from his elders
With Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez manning the Uruguay attack, it's far too easy to forget about the other able forwards on the roster.
Enter Abel Hernandez.
The 22-year-old striker, who plays his club football at Palermo in Italy, scored four goals in Uruguay's 8-0 drubbing of Tahiti. Three of them came in the first half, with the lone second-half goal coming on a penalty.
Hernandez, who's only notched 10 caps with the Uruguay national team, scored more goals in Sunday's match than he had in his previous nine appearances with the international side.
The young player isn't a stranger to riding the bench behind Cavani, as he played below the now Napoli striker for a year with Palermo. And it's apparent that he's taking notes on the 26-year-old's epic scoring ability.
Of course, I just got finished talking about how incompetent Tahiti was in the tournament, so it's unclear at this point how much Hernandez's four goals should be looked into. But after impressing in what was likely his first exposure to thousands upon thousands of new fans, the sky is the limit for the Uruguay striker.
Uruguay has some catching up to do
I know, I know. It's hard to believe that Uruguay could've looked anything short of perfect with eight goals in 90 minutes.
But the fact of the matter is, Uruguay faces Brazil in a semifinal clash after advancing through the group stage and they look nothing like a team that can top the host country.
What are Uruguay's chances of topping Brazil?
The Uruguayans might find solace in their 8-0 win on Sunday, but that pales in comparison to the realization that Brazil put up nine goals in three matches against Italy, Mexico and Japan while only giving up two.
Brazil's defense simply looks impenetrable so far in the tournament. The last time Uruguay faced such a stingy back line was in their Confederations Cup opener, when they were pounded by Spain in a 2-1 affair that was much more lopsided than the scoreline suggests. It took a garbage-time free kick from Luis Suarez to give Uruguay a single goal.
Despite ending up with eight goals against Tahiti, Uruguay looked unable to put anything together through the first quarter of the match as they sat on a one-goal lead until the 24th minute.
It'll be an all-South American clash to see who will face either Italy or Spain in the championship match, and both sides boast plenty of firepower and offensive ability. But Uruguay has been shut down so far in the tournament, while Brazil simply looks unstoppable.
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