ARCHIE THOMPSON scored his second goal for Australia in his third appearance for his national side - and liked the feeling so much that he scored TWELVE more to claim a world record for the number of goals by one player in an international match. The Aussies have also broken their own world record with a massive 31-0 win over American Samoa that shatters their 22-0 whipping of Tonga three days previous.
"It's obviously great scoring goals, and being part of a world record is an honour," said Thompson. "At half time I was told about the record, but we're out there to do a job, and Iím just happy to score goals, against any opposition."
American Samoa are rock bottom in FIFA's official world rankings, so probably did not expect much from their encounter with an Australia side that did not even include star turns like Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka or even Coventry's John Aloisi. But surely even they did not expect to be hit for 31 goals? Needless to say, the Samoans are not expected to be in the finals in Japan and Korea next summer.
Thompson, who plays for Sydney's Marconi Stallions, only got his chance because Australia coach Frank Farina did not call up his top players for this round of qualifiers. The 22-year-old came off the bench against Tonga on Sunday and was one of the few Aussies not to find the net. He more than made up for that with 13 goals to break the previous world record of ten strikes set by Sophus Neilsen of Denmark in 1908 and equalled by Gottfried Fuchs of Germany in 1912. Thompson, 22, could very well wind up with a permanent place in the record books - FIFA will surely decide that one-sided World Cup qualifiers like this one are an embarrassment and should not happen again.
Despite the record defeat, American Samoa's team manager Tony Langkilde told BBC Radio Five Live that he was not too downhearted: ''We are here as part of a learning process. We are a member of FIFA and we have the right to play. We are very happy to be here and we have to build from here. I don't think we are downhearted. The only way is forward. We have to move forward from now on. I have to build on this team because it is the first time we have put a team together like this.''
Joining Thompson on the scoresheet for the match were David Zdrilic (eight goals), Con Boutsianis (a hat-trick), Aurelio Vidmar (two), Tony Popovic (two), Simon Colosimo (two) and Fausto de Amicis.
Somewhat surprisingly, Australia took a full eight minutes to open the scoring - Boutsianis netting direct from a corner - but were 16-0 up by half time and broke their ink-barely-dry world record with their 23rd goal on 65 minutes. Aussie keeper Michael Petkovic had his first touch of the ball on 86 minutes when the Samoans put together their first attack of the match.
Thompson made it 2-0 in the 12th minute, striker partner Zdrilic got his first a minute later and within a minute of that Vidmar had made it 4-0. Defender Popovic chipped in with two goals before Zdrilic and Thompson took over to score ten goals between them before the interval.
Boutsianis got the 17th goal five minutes after the resumption, Colosimo got his first a minute later and defender De Amicis netted for 19-0 on 55 minutes before Thompson and Zdrilic again took over, scoring six goals between them in the space of 22 minutes. The rout continued with Vidmar, Colosimo and Boutsianis each chipping in again, Boutsianis' goal in the 84th minute completing his first international hat-trick for Australia, before strikers Thompson and Zdrilic finished things up with goals in the 85th, 88th and 89th minutes.
"As I've said in the past, we go out and play pretty much every game in the same manner, we concentrate on what our strengths are and what we want to do on the park and we did that again tonight, and we did it well," said Socceroos coach Frank Farina. "The plan for us when we go into a game is always pretty much the same, we don't look too much at what other teams are doing, we try and make sure what we do, we do well, and it's been working quite well for us."
Click here to listen in as our sister site, SportOnAir, breaks the news to Aussie star Danny Tiatto.
HAVE YOUR SAY... Calling F365's Aussie readers! Were you there in Coffs Harbour? Did you watch the game on the TV? Give us your eye-witness accounts! Coulfd you and your mates beat American Samoa? Should games like these be abolished from the footballing calendar? Are they embarrassing or funny? E-mail your views to firstname.lastname@example.org