5 Biggest World Cup Blowouts: England Destroys Panama, But It Wasn’t The Most One-Sided World Cup Win Ever
England gave Panama bitter memories of the country’s first trip to the FIFA World Cup on Sunday, blasting past the Los Canaleros by a lopsided 6-1 score, after putting five past Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo in the first half alone, according to BBC. But the lopsided England win, as impressive as it was, was far from the biggest blowout in the 88-year history of the World Cup — with 20 tournaments played over that period.
The World Cup is held every four years, with the first edition coming in 1930, but as FIFA.com recounts, the biggest event in world football took a 12-year break between 1938 and 1950 due to World War II.
Tottenham Hotspur striker/England Captain Harry Kane became only the third England player to record a hat-trick in a World Cup match, after Gary Hurst pulled off the feat in 1966 — England’s lone World Cup winning year — and Gary Lineker, who managed the feat 20 years later, according to Match of the Day.
The five-goal margin was, however, an England record for margin of victory in a World Cup match, and the win guaranteed England a spot in the 2018 Round of 16. England now faces Belgium on Thursday level on points and goal difference, to decide which team finishes on top of Group G. But Panama had one highlight in the match, as 37-year-old veteran Felipe Baloy recorded his country’s first-ever World Cup goal, coming in the 78th minute of Sunday’s match.
Scroll down to see a list of the five biggest blowouts in World Cup history.
Sweden vs. Cuba (1938), 8-0 Sweden
Sweden had already had an easier game in the 1938 World Cup before meeting the team from the tiny Caribbean island of Cuba in the tournament quarterfinals. The Swedes advanced due to walkover — or forfeit — over Austria after Hitler’s Nazi Germany annexed the country in March of 1938 and a number of Austrian players pulled out of the World Cup to join the Nazis. Read about the “Austrian Anschluss” via History.com.
But things didn’t get much more difficult against Cuba, as two Swedish players, Harry Andersson and Gustav Wetterstrom, scored hat tricks, The Mirror recounts, on the way to the 8-0 shutout.
Germany vs. Saudi Arabia (2002) 8-0 Germany
Germany’s Miroslav Klose still holds the record for goals scored in World Cup competition with 16, according to the Guinness Book, and he scored the first of that total in Germany’s opening match of the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea. In fact, he tallied a hat trick in that game which Die Mannschaft went on to win 8-0 on their way to the World Cup finals, where the Germans lost 2-0 to Brazil.
Yugoslavia vs. Zaire (1974) 9-0 Yugoslavia
Two countries that no longer exist, at least with the names they played under in 1974, met in a group stage match that saw Yugoslavia — which split into six different countries starting in 1990 (United States Office of the Historian) — put six in the net by the half against a Zaire team that had already allows five goals in their first two games. Zaire, which was playing its first World Cup, changed its name to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997.
Hungary vs. South Korea (1954) 9-0 Hungary
The Hungarians were expected to win the tournament, having gone without a loss over the previous four years as The Guardian records, and their dominance over South Korea — a country that had just finished a devastating war the previous year — did nothing to dispel those expectations. Barcelona star Sandor Kocsis tallied a hat-trick for the Hungarians who made it to that year’s final, where they were shocked 3-2 by the country then known as West Germany in what remains one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history.
Hungary vs. El Salvador (1982) 10-1 Hungary
With 28 years gone by since they blew out South Korea 9-0, Hungary tallied another nine-goal win in World Cup play, humiliating a proud but heavily outgunned El Salvador side, scoring seven goals in the second half to become the only team in World Cup history to score in double digits. But the tournament again ended in disappointment for the Hungarians, who failed even to advance from the group stage this time.
BONUS: Australia vs. American Samoa (2001 qualifying match) 31-0 Australia
Though not taking place in the actual 2002 World Cup tournament, the Australia vs. American Samoa match in the Oceania region qualifiers was so brutal, according to Paste Magazine, that it led FIFA to introduce a preliminary round — in effect a qualifier for the qualifiers — to prevent teams from suffering any such embarrassments in the future.