FIFA U-20 World Cup record
Tahiti became the first island nation in the Pacific to qualify for a youth World Cup when they reached the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt. In doing so, they also became the only Oceania nation to prevent New Zealand from featuring at youth level since 2005. The Aito Taure’a suffered three heavy defeats in Egypt against Nigeria, Venezuela and a star-studded Spain. But the key members of Tahiti side went on to form the backbone of the senior national team which unexpectedly became continental champions in 2012, subsequently featuring at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. Other graduates of that team represented Tahiti’s famed beach soccer national team.
The road to Poland
Two-time winners of the Oceania U-20 Championship (1974 and 2008), Tahiti hosted the 2018 edition seeking one of two tickets to Poland 2019. They showed their competitiveness on the opening day with a tough 2-1 loss against favourites New Zealand, before comfortable victories in their remaining group matches over Papua New Guinea and Tonga respectively. Their decade-long drought from the U-20 World Cup was broken with a comfortable 3-1 semi-final win over Solomon Islands. Tahiti narrowly failed to win the continental crown as New Zealand claimed victory with a lone second-half strike.
Tahiti coach Bruno Tehaamoana assumed the U-20 reins for this cycle from national team manager Ludovic Graugnard. Tehaamoana had a full season with the team competing in the local senior Ligue 1 building up towards the qualifying campaign, with the players returning to their local clubs for the most recent season.
0 – Tahiti failed to find the net in their lone U-20 World Cup appearance, conceding 21 goals in the process.