This Day In Sport - Socceroos Make History


Gareth Messenger

On 11 April 2001, Australia set an international football record, beating American Samoa 31-0.

The match occurred during the Oceania Football Confederation qualification campaign for the 2002 World Cup, which set the two teams on a crash course for a historic result.

Australia beat Tonga 0-22 in their opening match just a couple of days prior, while American Samoa lost their first game 13-0 to Fiji.

It was inevitable the scoreline would be a heavy one, but not many anticipated the number of goals to exceed the number it did.

The two teams met at the International Sports Stadium in Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, playing before a crowd of 3,000.

You’d think with a grand total of 31 goals, Australia would come flying out of the blocks. Not quite. It took ten minutes for Australia to take the lead, courtesy of midfielder Con Boutsianis, who went on to complete a hat-trick with goals in the 50th and 84th minutes.

But the star of the day was forward Archie Thompson, who, in just his third national team appearance, scored thirteen times (12', 23', 27', 29', 33', 37', 42', 45', 56', 60', 65', 85', 88'). Thompson scored a grand total of 28 international goals in an on-off career spanning 12 years. 13 of that 28 came in just this single game.

Forward David Zdrilic wasn't far behind with eight (13', 21', 25', 33', 58', 66', 78', 89'), while Australia's remaining goals were provided by Aurelio Vidmar (14', 80'), former Crystal Palace defender Tony Popovic (17', 19'), Simon Colosimo (51', 81'), and Fausto De Amicis (55').

Remember, Australia left star strikers Mark Viduka and John Aloisi out of the matchday squad for this one, while poor American Samoa was missing 19 of their first-team squad due to issues with the players’ passports.

Oh, and the official scoreboard at full-time read 32-0. It was eventually changed by the officials, but I say we should forgive those in charge of keeping score on this day 19 years ago, many of us would lose track of the score too!