24th November 2011
Oceania World Cup Qualifying Round 1
J.S. Blatter Stadium, Apia, Samoa
American Samoa 1 – 1 Cook Islands
After the historic first ever win a couple of days ago, American Samoa have followed that up with a 1-1 draw against Cook Islands.
Shalom Luani scored for the second match in succession during the first half to give American Samoa a deserved lead. It was one that they looked certain to at least hold on to or even extend. But sadly an own goal after an hour from Tala Luvu, looping a header of Nicky Salapu in goal, brought Cook Islands level.
This unprecedented success of 2 games unbeaten means that American Samoa have astonishingly put themselves in a position to win the qualifying group and progress to the next stage of Oceania World Cup Qualifying. Staggering stuff.
Obviously it adds further to their climb up the next FIFA rankings in a month’s time meaning they are well and truly clear of their World’s Worst tag.
Also unbeaten in American Samoa coach Thomas Rongen who had this to say…
“Our game plan was to win but the draw has gotten us to four points and puts us into a position on Saturday to play for a championship.
“I think we should have put the game away in the first half and scored two or three with the chances we had. We made it very hard for ourselves again but we got the result we needed to make the game against Samoa, who I consider the best team, a meaningful contest. It’s going to be great – Samoa and American Samoa is like a dream match-up.”
That has kind of given away the result of the next match, with Samoa also atop the group, and Cook Islands and Tonga now eliminated. This means the match between the two Samoas on 26th November is not only a clash of two Samoas and two (still currently) bottom ranked nations, but it is also a gith for top of the group and qualification.
American Samoa must win that one thanks to their inferior goals scored record, but after two magnificent results confidence will be sky high. Who knows?