Well, that was something, wasn’t it?
After fretting that maybe this wasn’t the year for Portugal, they go and destroy North Korea 7-0 in the rain in Cape Town, giving themselves a +7 goal differential and all but assuring a trip to the Round of 16. And in case you’re wondering, yes, it was awesome.
Raul Meireles broke through the Korean defense in the 29th minute, and then they went off in the second half. Simão, Hugo Almeida and Thiago all went off within seven minutes of each other, Liédson came on and added number five, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first international goal in two years (after hitting the crossbar earlier and setting up most of the previous five goals), and just for good measure, Thiago added his second two minutes after Ronaldo.
So, after buzzing for a while, the question came up: where did this win rank in the most lopsided wins in World Cup history? So it was off to Wikipedia’s page for World Cup records, naturally.
First, this is two goals short of the greatest margin of victory, 9. Hungary defeated the Korea Republic (aka South Korea) 9-0 in 1954, Yugoslavia defeated Zaire 9-0 in 1974, and Hungary knocked El Salvador around to the tune of 10-1 in 1982.
But scanning through these led to some other fun discoveries. Including:
- Biggest margin of victory in a qualifying match: Australia 31-0 American Samoa, 2001
This came in the Oceanian zone qualifying, and needless to say, I’m glad I didn’t know anyone from American Samoa at the time. Australia cruised to victory in the group that year, also defeating Tonga 22-0 and Samoa 11-0. They won the zone in solid but not humiliating fashion over New Zealand, 4-1.
- Most minutes without conceding a goal: 517, by Italy, 1990
The Italia World Cup was the first I remember watching, mostly on Univision at my cousin’s house. I remember Italy having a strong showing before West Germany ultimately won, but I didn’t realize quite how strong. Let’s be glad the United Football Haters of America weren’t paying attention to this run.
- Worst performance by a defending champion: France, 2002
One draw, two losses, zero goals scored. Looks like they’re on their way to a repeat this year, huh?
- Youngest goal scorer: 17 years, 239 days, Pelé, 1958
I didn’t know that before, but if you had asked me “who was the youngest player to score a goal in the World Cup,” I wouldn’t have needed more than one guess to nail it.
- Fastest goal from kickoff: 11 seconds, Hakan Şükür, Turky, 2002
I remember being stunned by this. This came against South Korea in the 2002 Third-Place match, and as guy who had fallen in love with South Korea’s fast style of play, it was a bit of a buzzkill. Turkey won this match, 3-2, and the hosts settled for fourth, the greatest World Cup finishes for either side.
And, my personal favorite:
- Most goals in extra time, both teams: 5, by Italy (3) and West Germany (2) in 1970
This was the conclusion of a 4-3 Italian win in the Mexico 1970 World Cup that has since become known as the “Game of the Century.” With the score 1-0 Italy, West Germany tied it in the 90th minute, and the teams traded volleys from there. Germany took a 2-1 lead in the 94th, Italy tied it in the 98th, took a 3-2 lead in the 104th, Germany tied it again in the 110th, and Italy finally put it away in the 111th minute. Italy moved on to the final, where they were beaten soundly by Brazil 4-1 in Pelé’s final World Cup.