Anniversary of a smashing

Despite being the largest country in the continent of Oceania, Australia play their football as part of the Asian federation. And looking at their history you can see why.

Today marks the anniversary of the biggest international win in a FIFA sanctioned match. Australia smashed American Samoa 31 – 0 in a World Cup qualifier in 2001. This came only two days after setting the previous record, beating Tonga 22 – 0.

Archie Thompson scored 13, making him the player to score the most goals in a single game. The previous record was 10, jointly held by Sofus Nielsen of Denmark in 1908, and Gottfried Fuchs of Germany in 1912.

Preliminary rounds would be added in the Oceanian zone for World Cup qualification, and Australia would move to the AFC in 2006. When the World Cup is expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 World Cup, it will be the first time Oceania has a guaranteed place at the tournament. For the 2022 edition, there will be one Oceanian team in an intercontinental play-off.

At the time of the game, American Samoa were the lowest ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings, had never won a game at senior level. They played 3 15-year olds, and their manager claimed some of the players had previously never played a 90-minute game of football.

It was actually scoreless for the first ten minutes but unfortunately the ref didn’t blow it up there, and the goals rumbled in. 7 different goalscorers got on the scoresheet for Australia.

American Samoa finished bottom of the group of 5 teams. Their record was 0 goals scored, and 57 conceded. Australia went on to beat New Zealand in the final to qualify for the play-off. They were beaten by Uruguay, who finished 5th in South America.

At least they got some fresh air.


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