The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013 has already been a new high watermark for Oceania football on several levels. The first-ever FIFA tournament to be held in a Pacific Islands nation has been set alight by Tahiti’s historic qualification for the quarter-finals.
Now Solomon Islands are aiming to follow in the footsteps of the Oceania host nation and, if their displays in French Polynesia so far are an indication, they have every chance of doing so.
Solomon Islands seemed set for a famous win against Argentina in their second match thanks to a stunning display of power-laden and fleet-footed movement. Leading 4-1 at the start of the second period, the Melanesians fell victim to some astonishing Argentine long-range shooting.
However, iit was one of the Solomons' goals - a sharp pass and move combination involving the whole team - that provided a particularly memorable moment. The Bilikiki, who opened with a 2-0 win over Netherlands, have more than demonstrated their ability to make a significant impact at this tournament.
Remarkably, six of the 12 in the current squad at Tahiti 2013 have also represented the Solomon Islands in FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers. Coach Gideon Omokirio has done likewise, as well as at the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup for Papua New Guinea outfit Hekari United for an unusual treble.
But it was teenager Anthony Talo who has notched another remarkable chapter in his fledgling career. Last year the-then 16-year-old Talo scored the winner playing as a goalkeeper as the Kurukuru claimed its inaugural win at a FIFA Futsal World Cup. Now Talo, playing at Tahiti 2013 ostensibly as a defender, has a hat-trick to his name against South American champions Argentina.
“I enjoy matches like this," Talo told FIFA.com at full-time. “I believe I am going to score in any game I play. I have confidence in myself. This game [against Argentina] is good for me, and already I’m looking forward to the next World Cup.”
Despite the many team-mates that have played in the FIFA World Cup, Talo limits himself to futsal and beach soccer only. For now though the focus is winning against El Salvador which would guarantee passage to the knockout stage. “I plan to make history like at the Futsal World Cup,” said the softly-spoken Talo. “I think we will win this game and qualify for the second round.”