WATCH: Remembering Australia's 31-0 win over American Samoa

It's the 16th anniversary of the infamous match

BY Daniel Kelly 13:58 Tuesday 11 April 2017, 13:58 11 Apr 2017

Archie Thompson scored 13 goals in the game. Picture by: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

April 11th, 2001 is a day that will remain in infamy for international football. 

In a 2002 World Cup qualifier, Australia played American Samoa in Coffs Harbour. They won 31-0. It remains the biggest win in the history of an international football.

Australia had only broken the record for the biggest win in international football two days earlier. They defeated Tonga 22-0 in the same city.

Striker Archie Thompson also wrote his name into the record books scoring 13 goals. He scored his hat-trick goal in the 27th minute, and by half-time he had scored eight goals. Between the 48th and 88th minutes, he added another five to his tally.

American Samoa were plagued by visa issues ahead of the tournament, with their team having an average age of only 18. The squad included three 15-year-olds for the away side.

Although the 31-0 result made history, it was met with disdain from both sides. Australia wanted to compete against stronger opposition, while American Samoa were clearly out of their depth.

"They have a different mind, they had probably targeted the record from the start and there was nothing we could do about it", American Samoa manager Tunoa Lui admitted.

"They could have eased up, they didn't need those goals. It kind of bothers us that people are turning around and saying we shouldn't be in the tournament."

Despite scoring the 13 goals, even Thompson seemed embarrassed by the attention he was getting.

"Breaking the world record is a dream come true for me -- that sort of thing doesn't come along every day, but you have to look at the teams we are playing and start asking questions. We don't need to play these games."

In their three World Cup qualifying games against Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa, Australia scored 66 goals, without conceding. Fiji were the only team to hold the Australians to single digits, losing 2-0.

On January 1st, 2006, Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation in a bid to play against teams at their own level. The days of 31-0 drubbings are long gone. 

Such was the confusion on the day in Coffs Harbour, the result was originally given as 32-0, with Thompson scoring 14 goals, before it was amended soon after the full-time whistle.


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