A victory for the history books

AMERICAN Samoa's players raised their arms and fell to the ground, as if they had won a major championship.

It was only a 2-1 victory over Tonga in the start of Oceania World Cup qualifying, but for one of football's worst national teams it was a triumph like no other.

Led by former U.S. Under-20 coach Thomas Rongen, American Samoa won its first international match after 30 consecutive defeats over 17 years. American Somoa is a U.S. protectorate in the South Pacific with a population of about 55,000.

"This is going to be part of soccer history, like the 31-0 (defeat) against Australia was part of history,'' Rongen said.

American Samoa, tied for 203rd and last in the FIFA world rankings, had been outscored 229-12 since starting international play in 1994, including a world record 31-0 loss to Australia in a World Cup qualifier in 2001. Twelve of the losses had been in World Cup qualifying in which they had been outscored 129-2.

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