The Sweet Taste Of The First Victory

Soccer may not be the most popular sport in the small islands of the Pacific Ocean,being obviously surpassed by rugby,a game in which national teams like Fiji,Tonga or Samoa are important names,but it is slowly making progresses,thanks to FIFAís policy of spreading the beautiful game in every corner of the Earth,so even if the quality of the game played in that part of the world is still much inferior to that played in Europe and South America and the selection base is very small,the national teams from Oceania try to do their best to advance in FIFA
rankings. One of those small,but ambitious teams is that of American Samoa,which was considered one of the worst,if not the worst national soccer team in the world until a few days ago,and that position was justified by the fact that they had never managed to obtain a single point in the preliminaries of the FIFA World Cup.Itís true that they only participated in three preliminary rounds,starting with the 2002 World Cup,but their evolutions were absolutely disastrous:in their three previous World Cup they played 12 matches,loosing all of them,and the goal difference is astronomical;2 goals scored and 129 received!They also hold the unwanted record for the heaviest defeat ever in a World Cup match:0-31 against Australia! However,those terrible statistics didnít stop American Samoa from participating in the preliminaries of the 2014 FIFA World Cup;it was the perfect opportunity for them to show that things can improve with hard work and also with a new coach who seems to do an excellent job with this team.The 22nd of November 2011 is a day in which American Samoa made history by winning its first ever official match.Its opponent was Tonga,a team

they had played two official games in their previous campaigns,both them ended in defeats at reasonable scores compared to other results:0-5 in the preliminaries for the 2002 World Cup and 0-4 in the 2010 campaign.For all these reasons Tonga were again considered strong favorites,but this time they had the unpleasant surprise of meeting a much stronger side compared to the one they had met before,and American Samoa managed to obtain a historical 2-1 victory in Apia,where the game was played.Ramin Ott and Shalom Luani are the names of the two scorers whose names will probably be remembered forever by the fans from American Samoa,although the entire team brought its contribution to this historical result. Two days later,American Samoa was close to another success,this time against the Cook Islands;they had the lead through the same Shalom Luani,but eventually the Cook Islands fought back and the match ended in a draw(1-1),which also represents a historical moment because it is their first ever draw in an official World Cup match.Anyway,regardless of what this team will do in the following matches,they can be really proud of themselves because these achievements are truly fantastic for the team who was considered to be the worst in the world until recently. The story of American Samoaís first ever official success is just one example of the beauty of this fabulous game called soccer,which means much more than the glamor of the big tournaments such as the Champions League;it is also the game in which even the smallest teams can have their moments of glory and thatís what makes soccer even more fascinating and loved in so many parts of the world.


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