England hammered San Marino 10-0, last night in their final fixture of World Cup 2022 qualifying has thrown up some debate. One of them has been to raise the futility of these types of games where two nations are so unevenly matched in every aspect of football. Another has been the margin by which the Three Lions claimed the victory, with captain Harry Kane grabbing a hat-trick in the first half itself.San Marino will always remember this drubbing at the hands of England.
Back to back! What a way to seal our World Cup spot and finish the campaign on a high. pic.twitter.com/M40WvAeBfe
— Harry Kane (@HKane) November 15, 2021
This was England’s biggest win in a competitive game but needless to say, there have been some huge ones in the qualifying cycle alone. Germany scored nine against Liechtenstein while France hammered eight past Kazakhstan just a few days ago. No matter what the footballing authorities decide as to have more balanced games, FootTheBall recounts the top 10 biggest wins in World Cup qualifying history.
Spoiler alert: San Marino and England do not feature, even once!
FIJI 13-0 AMERICAN SAMOA (2001)
American Samoans, look away now, this is not going to end prettily. Fiji started their 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign in rip-roaring fashion, with two players- Shailemdra Lal and Esala Masi bagging four goals apiece. Lal even went on to score once more in what would prove to be only an appetizer for what was to come for American Samoa.
MONGOLIA 0-14 JAPAN (2021)
The biggest scoreline from this year, as the Blue Samurais put the home side to the sword. Incredibly, this still remains the second-highest win in their history. There were nine different scorers on the day as Japan look set to make yet another World Cup next year, where they will face far sterner tests.
IRAN 14-0 CAMBODIA (2019)
One of the few matches in football where the result was really not the focus. Iran’s win featured eight different goal scorers, with Karim Ansarifard netting four times.
Iran allowed female supporters into their football ground to watch their World Cup Qualifier against Cambodia after overturning a 40-year ban.
A massive step towards equality. pic.twitter.com/nuhzjfQpFL
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) October 10, 2019
However, the match will be most remembered because it marked the momentous occasion of female fans in the country being allowed back into stadiums after many years of being prohibited. The celebrations from the stands in Tehran were evident as newscasters from across the world showed the joyous images.
QATAR 15-0 BHUTAN (2015)
The hosts of next year smashed minnows Bhutan in the first round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. Qatar would go on to top their group but finish bottom in the next round, losing seven of their 10 matches. The regional powerhouses are yet to appear at a World Cup and next year seems like a great start, as they are the first Arab country to host.
VANUATU 15-0 AMERICAN SAMOA (2007)
The hosts finished third in their group in the 2007 Pacific Games, which doubled as the preliminary OFC qualifying round for the 2010 World Cup. Though they would ultimately fall way short of qualifying, this was a nice win to have but for American Samoa, another terribly bruising day’s work.
FIJI 16-0 TUVALU (2007)
Fiji is back, and this time they actually had strong showings in order to qualify for their maiden World Cup. However, it was not to be as New Zealand took that honour from Oceania but this lopsided win over Tuvalu would be cause for much celebration nevertheless.
TAJIKISTAN 16-0 GUAM (2000)
These were not happy days for the islanders in the Pacific. Guam would suffer two successive humiliating defeats in their qualifying campaign for the 2002 World Cup. The first one was against one of the many “-stan”s as they shipped in 16 goals.
IRAN 19-0 GUAM (2000)
A record-breaking night for the Middle East nation, both for the team and a legendary player. This was Iran’s biggest win in World Cup qualifying history, though they would fail to reach the 2002 World Cup after losing in the playoffs.
Furthermore, this was also the match in which Ali Daei scored a hat-trick to take his international goals tally to 109- a record only recently broken by Cristiano Ronaldo after two decades.
AUSTRALIA 22-0 TONGA (2001)
The Socceroos set two world records in the space of two days. The 2002 World Cup qualifying phase has already featured heavily on this list and it will continue. John Aloisi scored a double hat-trick while Kevin Muscat and Damian Mori added four goals each in the absolute demolition job of Tonga. Archie Thompson could only score once but his day in the sun would arrive next time.
AUSTRALIA 31-0 AMERICAN SAMOA (2001)
The most infamous scoreline in the history of the game, and one which really forced the administrators to restructure how qualifying for major tournaments was held. Thompson, presumably sad with just one goal last time, netted a record-setting 13 times in one match.
Australia broke their own record from the win over Tonga and went past the scarcely believable 30-goal mark. Several movies and documentaries have been made based on that match which remains a global anomaly in football.