The Polynesian islanders of Tonga have never before featured at the bottom of the FIFA world rankings, though they have more than once had a bearing on matters relating to the worst in the world.
Back in the Oceania zone qualifying rounds for the 2002 World Cup, Tonga were pitched into an opening group with the regional might of Australia, among a few other Pacific island nations. Tonga suffered the ignominy of a world record defeat for an international match, going down 22-0 to the rampant Socceroos. Continue reading →
In many ways it, of course, bore no relation to the real World Cup final of 2002 taking place in on the same day, but in others it had all the pageantry, atmosphere, and sense of occasion that befits a global football event. On that particular day the cities of Yokohama in Japan and Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan high up in the Himalayas, were linked by a footballing contest. While the pinnacle of the world’s game was being decided in Japan, the two countries ranked at the bottom of FIFA’s meritocracy played out the Other Final to decide who was the worst national team in the world.
An enterprising Dutch film crew, who turned their nation’s disappointment at failing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup into an idea to look at those national teams rather more accustomed to losing than their own. This idea took them to the FIFA website and its world rankings, at the bottom of which sat Montserrat and Bhutan. Continue reading →