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FIFA defends Tahiti's right to play at Confederations Cup

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Tahiti players thank Brazil after their last match at the Confederations Cup.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- World football's governing body has defended Tahiti's right to play at the Confederations Cup despite the Pacific Islanders scoring just once and conceding 24 goals in three losses.

The 138th-ranked Tahiti is one of the eight teams at the FIFA tournament in Brazil after winning the Oceania Nations Cup final. Finalist New Caledonia surprisingly beat regional power New Zealand earlier in a competition without Australia.

But at the 2014 World Cup warm-up event, Tahiti, with just one professional player, lost 6-1 against Nigeria, 10-0 against Spain and 8-0 against Uruguay.

FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke says "it would go against all principles if one confederation is not as strong as the other confederations, they will not have access to our competitions.''

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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