Fiji have broken the record of biggest win in international soccer history, thrashing Micronesia 38-0. The match of course also gives Micronesia the heartbreaking record of the worst loss in international soccer. The game, held on Sunday, was part of the 2015 Pacific Games, which the Daily Mail reports are also serving as qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics.
The devastating defeat follows an already embarrassing debut for Micronesia, who lost 30-0 to Tahiti just two days ago. The previous worst loss in international soccer was set at 31-0 in 2001, in a game between Australia and American Samoa. This gives Micronesia the dubious honor of not only setting a terrible new record, but nearly equaling the previous one in the same tournament. So that makes two games, with a -68 goal difference. Things don’t look good for the tiny nation, which has a population of just 106,000.
The Associated Press report that the result may not be recognized by FIFA, however, as the tournament involves under-23 teams.
You can check out the quality of play and a handful of Fiji’s goals in the video below.
Fiji, by comparison, are doing reasonably well, with their opening game finishing with a 1-1 draw against Vanuatu, according to the Daily Mail.
In their thrashing of Micronesia, the score was set at 21-0 by halftime, before Fiji continued to drive the game deeper and deeper into massacre territory. Speaking to the Guardian after the game, Stan Foster, Micronesia’s coach, somehow managed to make the best of the terrible situation.
“We did quite well in the second half. The marking was slack in the first half so I told them to make sure they marked man to man, and that worked out a lot better.”
Fiji’s star player was the internationally unknown 20-year-old Atonio Tuivuna, who smashed 10 goals into the net over the course of the game. Tuivuna also played in all three of Fiji’s games at last month’s 2015 U-20 World Cup. The archipelago nation didn’t do so well at that New Zealand-hosted tournament, losing all three of their games, ending up at the bottom of their group.
What is it that creates these shocking scorelines from Oceania? When American Samoa played Australia, it was reported that, amongst many other problems, some of their players had never played a full 90-minute match. A similar situation was at play here, with Foster also telling the Guardian that most of the players are still new to the game. The goalkeeper for Micronesia in the second half, Dominic Gadad (a midfielder), hadn’t played in goal until under a month ago.
“Most of these guys are from small villages where they don’t play soccer, so they’ve come a long way, they’re not used to a crowd in a big tournament like this against real quality players.”
With the brutal punishment inflicted on them by Fiji, Micronesia handily beat the long-standing club soccer record of Arbroath 36–0 Bon Accord, set in 1885. They still have a long way to go until they beat the current record for worst defeat, however, set at 149-0 in 2002. There’s a good reason for that though: the match was lost deliberately. Whatever else there is to say about Micronesia’s record loss to Fiji, you can say this in their soccer team’s favor — they’ve got heart.
[Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images]