Tag Archives: oceania

Tonga: South Pacific Struggles

Tonga-Green-Mountains-HD-WallpapersThe 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

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Hall of Fame – Nicky Salapu

NickySalapuIf there is one person who personifies American Samoa’s travails as the Worst in the World, and their eventual escape from it, it is Nicky Salapu. As the youthful goalkeeper who conceded a record-breaking thirty-one goals in one international, he has known more than his fair share of sporting anguish. And boy has he has suffered for it The humiliation, the demons, the global ridicule. He’s had it all. And yet he found redemption in the very same tournament that had given him his darkest hour: World Cup qualification. All told, the induction of Nicky Salapu into the Worst in the World Hall of Fame is an obvious, straightforward decision.

His career with his national team was book-ended by the two most significant moments in their history – the 31-0 defeat to Australia in 2001, and the first ever victory, coming against Tonga in 2011. Both tales are fascinating insights into the lower reaches of international football and the people involved.

In the Oceania region qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup, American Samoa were set to make their debut in the world’s premier tournament. In a slightly misguided move, the power brokers of the Oceania Football Confederation decided that the huge disparity in standard in the region wasn’t cause for a preliminary round. Instead, the ten teams would be split into two groups, one headed by Australia and the other by New Zealand, with the winners progressing to a playoff to find Oceania’s winner. (Another playoff would then be required for qualification, but such matters were a long way from the minds of the American Samoans.)

American Samoa were placed alongside Australia and a few of their South Pacific cousins. A hard enough task in its own right, but when FIFA ruled all but one of American Samoa’s squad ineligible due to passport issues, things got instantly more difficult. The last remaining member of their full squad? The twenty-year-old goalkeeper, Nicky Salapu. They couldn’t even bring in member of the under-20 squad to replace the first-teamers as most of them were sitting their high school exams at the time. So replacements were sought from the youth squad. Suddenly Nicky Salapu was promoted to captain and had to face the might of Australia alongside a babble of untried teenagers. What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

Samoa win through: Samoa 1 American Samoa 0

26th November 2011
Oceania World Cup Qualifying Round 1
J.S. Blatter Stadium, Apia, Samoa

Samoa 1 – 0 American Samoa

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Samoa won the battle of the two Samoas, and also the Oceania World Cup Round One group, with a last minute Silao Malo goal to win 1-0.

It was also of course an almost unprecedented meeting of two current bottom ranked nations, although both had done plenty in their previous two matches to ensure neither of them are bottom any more. Continue reading

More Success! – American Samoa 1 Cook Islands 1

24th November 2011
Oceania World Cup Qualifying Round 1
J.S. Blatter Stadium, Apia, Samoa

American Samoa 1 – 1 Cook Islands

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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. Continue reading

An Historic Win! – American Samoa 2 Tonga 1

22nd November 2011
Oceania World Cup Qualifying Round
J.S. Blatter Stadium, Apia, Samoa

American Samoa 2–1 Tonga

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American Samoa, long- standing (joint) worst in the world nation, without a win or even a draw in their entire FIFA affiliated history finally broke their duck last night after 30 consecutive losses with a truly historic win over Tonga.

The Samoans took the lead just before half-time thanks to a long range shot from Ramin Ott, and doubled it midway through the second half when Shalom Luani chipped the Tongan keeper after being put through on goal. Continue reading

World’s Worst Big Match Preview: Oceania Match Day 1

WCQ

Tuesday 22nd November is a big day of Worst in the World action as two of our basement dwellers are in action in the South Pacific.

It’s the first day of the Oceania zone World Cup Qualification first round group with 4 teams battling it out in Apia, Samoa, at the horrendously named J.S. Blatter Stadium.

The hosts, and their near neighbours and fellow Worst in the World, American Samoa take on Tonga, Cook Islands and each other in a four way tussle for the one qualifying place in the next round, to take place in Fiji in June next year. Continue reading

Oceania World Cup Qualifying: Samoa

Samoa

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. Continue reading