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11 things you’ve forgotten about Australia’s 31-0 win against American Samoa

On April 11 2001, Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 in a 2002 World Cup qualifier to set the record for the biggest professional international win.

It’s the second most famous international trouncing of all time after Germany’s 7-1 win over Brazil.

On April 11 2001, Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 in a 2002 World Cup qualifier to set the record for the biggest professional international win.

It has gone down in football folklore since then, but here’s a few little factoids about the game you may have completely forgotten about.


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1 American Samoa had 19 players out due to passport issues

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Meaning they only had one player from their usual roster that actually played in the game.

2 Their back-ups from the Under-20s side couldn’t play because of exams

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Usually you’d think a World Cup qualifier would be more important than school, but you feel they probably knew they’d get humped.

3 Some of the American Samoan players had apparently never even played a 90 minute game of football

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Manager Tony Langkilde said some of the players struggled because they weren’t used to playing for such a long length of time.

4 Australia didn’t even score until the 10th minute

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Which means they actually scored 31 goals in 80 minutes of football.

5 American Samoa did actually have one shot on goal

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It took until the 86th minute, but Pati Feagiai’s name will go down in history as ‘that guy who had a shot against Australia’.

Michael Petkovic was the killjoy keeper who saved it.

6 Australia didn’t even play Mark Viduka

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The Socceroos knew they would absolutely walk the game, so they picked a weakened team themselves. They even dropped John Aloisi, who had scored six goals in their previous match. Speaking of which…

7 Australia had beaten Tonga 22-0 two days before

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Which itself was a world record for an international match – on April 9 2001 the Socceroos recorded the emphatic win over Tonga, meaning in three days they scored 53 goals, and conceded none.

8 Archie Thompson scored 13 goals out of the 31

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Which means the country’s all-time football stats are somewhat skewed. Thompson sits third on the list of top scorers for Australia, with 28 goals in 53 games. However, 13 of them came against one opponent, which doesn’t quite seem fair…

9 No-one was actually sure what the score even was

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The scoreboard at the end of the game had the result at 32-0. But the referee and match officials had the score at the correct 31-0, meaning American Samoa weren’t too humiliated.

10 The records that tumbled were ridiculous

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Not only was it the highest win in an international match, but Thompson’s 13 goals was also (unsurprisingly) the highest individual goal tally for one game.

Thompson also equalled the world record for most goals scored in a senior match, matching the record set in 1885 by John Petrie in Arbroath’s 36-0 win over Bon Accord in the Scottish Cup.

11 It had genuine consequences on world football

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Australia weren’t even happy by winning the game by such a big margin – for them, it forced the issue that they couldn’t keep on playing at such a low level.

It led to the introduction of a preliminary round in the Oceanian zone World Cup qualification group, and helped Australia secure a move to the Asian Football Confederation in 2006.