Spain broke the record for the biggest margin of victory in the finals of a FIFA tournament by crushing minnows Tahiti 10-0 at the Confederations Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday.
Fernando Torres scored four times and David Villa claimed a hat-trick for the world and European champions at Rio’s hallowed Maracana, with David Silva adding a brace and Juan Mata also finding the net.
No team had previously won by 10 goals at an international FIFA event, with Hungary (9-0 against South Korea at the 1954 World Cup, 10-1 against El Salvador at the 1982 World Cup) and Yugoslavia (9-0 against Zaire at the 1974 World Cup) the co-holders of the previous record.
Tahiti, who sit 138th in the FIFA rankings, equaled their heaviest defeat — a 10-0 demolition by New Zealand in 2004 — but Spain fell short of matching their 13-0 annihilation of Bulgaria in a 1933 international friendly.
“It’s a very nice result. The difference between the two teams was too great, but we played our game and they have a way of playing that is correct. They’re a very noble team,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said.
Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta said the reception his part-time players had received from the Brazilian crowd represented a “great victory.”
“We’ve won the hearts of the fans,” Etaeta said. “Obrigado [thank you in Portuguese] to everyone.”
Del Bosque made no less than 10 changes to his starting lineup, with only centerback Sergio Ramos keeping his place in the team from the 2-1 win over Uruguay.
Tahiti’s players presented their opponents with necklaces and pendants prior to the kickoff, but the pleasantries did not last long, with Torres beating goalkeeper Mickael Roche at his near post to give Spain a fifth-minute lead.
Roche was drafted into the Tahiti team in place of Xavier Samin, who shipped six goals against Nigeria, and the newcomer momentarily looked set to play the hero, saving at Torres’ feet and repelling Santi Cazorla’s half-volley.
His resistance did not last long, though, as Spain ran in three goals in the 14 minutes before halftime to banish any hopes of a shock result.
Silva found the bottom-left corner from Villa’s pass in the 31st minute, with Torres dinking the ball over the advancing Roche and rolling home, before Villa got on the score sheet from Silva’s low cross.
Tahiti surprisingly enjoyed 37 percent of possession in the first half, but Del Bosque added another attacking player at halftime in Jesus Navas and Villa soon made it 5-0 from a low Nacho Monreal cross.
Torres completed his hat-trick in the 57th minute, side-footing home from Navas’ cutback, before Villa matched his strike partner by tapping in after Roche allowed a long pass to squirm through his grasp.
Mata drove in Spain’s eighth shortly afterwards and although Torres then put a penalty against the crossbar, he quickly atoned by rounding Roche to roll in his fourth.
Navas teed up his new Manchester City teammate Silva for the record-breaking 10th goal in the 89th minute, by which time Spain’s celebrations had become rather sheepish.
Meanwhile, Brazilian police are investigating after Spain’s players were robbed at their hotel in the northern city of Recife, officials said.
FIFA confirmed the investigation after Spanish media said the players had money stolen from their rooms while they were in Recife for their match against Uruguay on Sunday.
“We know that there was a police report and this was being dealt with by the relevant authorities,” FIFA spokesman Pekka Odriozola said. “We have also been in touch with the team.”
A spokeswoman for Spain declined to discuss the incident, while police in Recife could not be reached for comment.
Six players, including Gerard Pique, reported that goods, including money, had been stolen from their rooms, according to the Spanish daily Marca and the EFE news agency.
The players reportedly discovered their money was missing as they prepared to leave Recife on Monday.
Police in Recife said on Thursday that no one from the Spain squad made an official complaint to authorities.
Police spokesman Carlos Leite said that investigators went to the team’s hotel after the delegation had left, but could not confirm that a robbery took place. He said that the hotel also could not confirm it.
On Wednesday, the wife of Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar said she was robbed at gunpoint in Fortaleza, where Brazil played Mexico earlier in the day.
In Brasilia, at least one journalist had his hotel room robbed before the tournament’s opening match last week.