The second of our Worst in the World taking part in the Oceania World Cup round one group next week, and indeed hosting it, is Samoa – not to be confused with American Samoa who we looked at last time.
Samoa have only recently sunk to the murky depths of the foot of the world rankings, and have so far clocked up only 2 months in that position thanks to results from a few years ago disappearing from the rankings reckoning.
However, they will be fancying their chances in this tournament with a strong chance of progressing through the group to reach the next stage of qualification, and of course with a very good chance of hauling themselves off the foot of the world rankings and stepping out of our radar for a while at least.
Like their neighbours American Samoa, they don’t play particularly often; other than two matches with Fiji earlier this year they haven’t played since missing out in the equivalent World Cup group 4 years ago. A recipe for falling down the rankings if ever I heard one.
Samoa is a strong sporting nation however; it’s just that it’s not in football. Rugby is of course the big thing, but that’s not to say that there are no good players from the islands. Tim Cahill of Everton and Australia is the most famous playing with Samoan heritage, and indeed his brother Chris is a Samoan international.
I fully expect Samoa to at least get sufficient results to pull away from the bottom of the rankings in this tournament, and possibly even to qualify through the group.
Samoa’s World Cup fixtures:
22nd November – v. Cook Islands (ranked 196) Played 4 times, won 1, drawn 1, lost 2
24th November – v. Tonga (ranked 201) Played 7 times, won 5, lost 2
26th November – v. American Samoa (ranked 203) Played 6 times, won 6 times