SOCCEROOS: Goal Galore at Cuffs Harbour

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On This Day In 2001, Australia set an international football record, beating American Samoa 31-0 in a World Cup qualifying match played at International Sports Stadium in Coffs Harbour. Archibald Gerald Thompson, who was just making his third national team appearance, scored thirteen times (12′, 23′, 27′, 29′, 33′, 37′, 42′, 45′, 56′, 60′, 65′, 85′, 88′). Forward David Zdrilic wasn’t far behind with eight (13′, 21′, 25′, 33′, 58′, 66′, 78′, 89′), while Australia’s remaining goals were provided by Aurelio Vidmar (14′, 80′), Tony Popovic (17′, 19′), Simon Colosimo (51′, 81′), and Fausto De Amicis (55′).

The match set the record margin for an international game, but is far behind the overall record of 149-0 set in a Madagascar league match between AS Adema and S.O. l’Emyrne in 2002. Thompson holds the all time goal scoring record for a single international match, breaking the previous record of 7 goals, which was jointly held by another Australian, Gary Cole, who scored seven goals against Fiji in the 1982 World Cup qualification on 14 August 1981, and Iranian Karim Bagheri, who also scored seven goals against Maldives in the 1998 World Cup qualification on 2 June 1997.

Some sources mentioned that the previous record was 10 goals, which was achieved by Denmark’s Sophus “Krølben” Nielsen in a 17–1 win against France at the 1908 Olympics and Germany’s Gottfried Fuchs in a 16–0 win against Russia at the 1912 Olympics. These matches, although fully recognized by FIFA, were played by amateur players. Thompson also equaled the world record for most goals scored in a recognized senior match, set in 1885 when John Petrie scored 13 goals in Arbroath’s 36–0 win over Bon Accord in a Scottish Cup tournament.

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