Tahiti are celebrating their first qualification for the knockout stage of any FIFA tournament after seeing off USA 5-3 to book passage to the quarter-finals alongside Argentina.
The Tiki Toa needed extra time – the first in the tournament so far – to see off the Stars and Stripes with a pair of late winners coming from Patrick Tepa.
The match was a stunning contest that saw endless narrow misses at both ends and the goalkeepers worked overtime, with a remarkable 80 shots recorded in the 39 minutes of play.
The host side once again did a Polynesian Haka pre-match and they made an inspirational start just as they did in their opening win against United Arab Emirates.
Raimana Li Fung Kuee and Raimoana Bennett scored in quick succession, but just as against UAE, the locals allowed their opponents back into the contest.
There was a dose of luck about USA’s first goal with a ball from an acute angle turned into his own net by Tahiti’s Angelo Tchen.
Tearii Labaste restored the two-goal margin with a stunning overhead kick, only for a typically resilient USA to draw level thanks to two quickfire strikes.
Despite parity being restored the Tahiti fans continued their noisy support and just as penalties loomed Patrick Tepa netted with 44 seconds remaining, before adding insurance in the final moments.