5 of football’s Biggest thrashings

Words: Hugh Morris
Photos: Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Is it possible to ‘take the positives’ from a 32-0 drubbing? 

As any true football fan knows, there’s a difference between a win and a thrashing.

A good win is earned – usually in tense circumstances – against a rival of similar quality. A thrashing only really happens when an unequal opponent throws in the towel, with their morale utterly crushed by the tonking they’re receiving.

But what are the biggest footballing routs of all time? And did the humiliated team have any shred of dignity they could hang on to? 

We’ve picked five – including a sensational 149-0 win – for you to enjoy.

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Arbroath 36 - 0 Bon Accord, 1885

Legend has it that Bon Accord, a once-football team from the proud sporting city of Aberdeen, arrived for their Scottish Cup first round draw in 1885 with no kit. We’re not talking 2017 and the wrong kind of regulation blades – this is late 19th century, a time when the absence of equipment probably meant playing in three-piece tweed and cap. This might go some way to explain why Bon Accord shipped 15 goals in the first half – and 21 in the second.

The names of the ruthless Arbroath starting XI are recalled by history – including 18-year-old John Petrie, who scored a record 13 goals that day – but documents only have one name from the Bon Accord side. Goalkeeper Andrew Lornie is the unlucky party – surely it’s a bit harsh to blame the whole thing on him?

Was there a silver lining? Arbroath’s 36-0 win held a place in the Guinness Book of World Records until 2002 – more on that in later. Bon Accord, meanwhile, have gained a sort of tragi-heroic notoriety for the thrashing they received. 

AS Adema 149 - 0 SO l’Emyrne, 2002

The final of the 2002 THB Madagasy Champions League descended into farce

© Besoccer/YouTube

How is 149-0 even possible? It’s a goal every 36 seconds. Not even Andrew Lornie would allow that. But what’s more remarkable about this result is that it took place in the Champions League final – albeit the Madagascan Champions League final. Now, we owe readers an apology, because although this match holds the Guinness World Record for heaviest spanking (overtaking Arbroath’s decimation of Bon Accord), the scoreline is somewhat false, in that SOE intentionally lost the game. That’s right, in protest at supposedly dodgy refereeing decisions earlier in the tournament, the team set about scoring as many own goals as possible to hand AS Adema a 149-nil win. That’ll learn those refs, right guys?

Was there a silver lining? Definitely. SO l’Emyrne were heavily reprimanded for calling the sport into disrepute. And rightly so. 

Australia 31 - 0 American Samoa, 2001

Despite scoring 13 goals, Archie Thompson was dropped for the next game – harsh

© wchiri/YouTube

In 2001, Australia were on fire. Having just thumped Tonga 22-0 in a World Cup Qualifier, the Socceroos were definitely the form side heading into their next match, against minnows American Samoa. By half-time, the Aussies were 16-0 up. By full-time, Archie Simpson – who once played two games on loan for PSV – had broken the record for most goals scored in an international match, with 13.

In fairness to American Samoa, passport issues meant that only one of their original 20-man squad was eligible to play. That said, it was their goalkeeper…

Was there a silver lining? Absolutely. The score was originally thought to be 32-0, but an official recount returned American Samoa a tiny bit of pride. The recount definitely takes the shine off.

Brazil 1 - 7 Germany, 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final wasn’t a close match

© Sports/YouTube

Germany’s dismantling of 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil was truly painful to watch. Though the Canarinho were without the majestic Neymar Jr and defensive stalwart Thiago Silva, few could have predicted their fate. The visitors were five up in 29 minutes, while Brazil did not register a shot on target until the 51st minute. It was total humiliation. Germany went on to win the tournament and Brazil went on to lose 3-0 to the Netherlands in the play-off for third place.

Was there a silver lining? Well, the referee blew his whistle for full-time. So that was something at least.

Manchester United 9 - 0 Ipswich Town, 1995

As Kenny Dalglish observed, United’s 9-0 drubbing of Ipswich still only earned them three points.

© redmanit/YouTube

The biggest win in Premier League history belongs to Manchester United. In March 1995 they were chasing down league leaders Blackburn who, going into the game, were three points ahead. Roy Keane opened the scoring, Andy Cole knocked in five, Paul Ince one and Mark Hughes two. Ipswich Town were hapless and finished that season bottom of the league.

Was there a silver lining? United didn’t win the league that season – Blackburn did, by one point. As their manager Kenny Dalglish pointed out at the time: “You only get three points whether you win 9-0 or 1-0.” Wise words. 

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03/17 The Red Bulletin

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