This past weekend kicked off the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup-- an international tournament that serves as a preview to next year's FIFA World Cup.  The tournament is hosted by Brazil, host nation of the 2014 World Cup.  It gives FIFA a small preview of how the games will be conducted at the selected stadiums.  It pits the top teams from each of FIFA's confederations-- for the most part-- plus the defending world champions and the host nation.  Among the eight nations taking part in this year's tournament is a country that has never been represented in any major international tournament.

This is a nation whose team consists of but one player on the roster that is a full-time professional player in the sport.  Every other player is an amateur.  The nation of Tahiti is making history by taking part in this Confederations Cup.  They opened up tournament play on Monday, June 17, 2013 against the nation of Nigeria.

Even though they lost by a brutal score of 6-1 against Nigeria, it still very much a great thing to see this country that is smaller than the state of Rhode Island take part in one of FIFA's major tournaments.  They may not be expected to put up much of a challenge against defending world champ Spain or the fourth place team of the World Cup Uruguay, but their presence alone speaks to the perseverance of this rag-tag team to accomplish the feat of simply qualifying by winning their confederations last tournament.

The tournament might answer questions as to who the favorites to win next year's World Cup might be, but it also provides-- at least for a few days-- a nice exposure to players from a country that never gets noticed on the international stage. A country that is known only as a nice tourist attraction with a population 1/6th of El Paso's population.  It is always nice to see a happy story to talk about, not something we get to do very often in the world of bringing the news.