Sixteen Goals in Seven Days: Archie Thompson

Drew Down Under

Sounder-down-Under is a look at the beautiful game from the other side of the world, written by Seattle ex-pat Drew Dickson.

This week saw the close to the career of one of Australia’s great goal scorers in Archie Thompson, a man who worked hard to get his adopted nation to as many international competitions as he could. Thompson was born in New Zealand, but in the span of seven days he became the talking point of Australian Football.

In April 2001, Australia had not joined the Asian Football Federation, but instead was fighting for the World Cup play-off spot to battle against a South American opponent within the Oceana Football Confederation.  That meant taking on nations such as New Zealand, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia.

In Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia hosted three nations, Tonga, American Samoa, and Samoa in their qualification bid for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan in the span of a week. Thompson didn’t make much of a dent against Tonga. Having said that, he only scored once in a 22-0 dismantling of the first of three island nations.

Archie Thompson

Archie Thompson in his wonder week (via

Against American Samoa, Archie Thompson would enter the FIFA record books. Australia would walk away from the contest a 31-0 (click here to watch the highlights, if you can call it that) victor with Thompson taking over the single international goal scoring record of 7, which was jointly held by Australian Gary Cole (against Fiji in 1981) and Iran’s Karim Bagheri (versus Maldives in 1997) with a new tally of 13.  Five days later, Thompson would add a brace against Samoa as Australia defeated them 11-0. I can only assume that after the previous two matches, the desire to run such a high scoreline seemed too much. Not that an 11-0 match is anything to shake your head at.

In his twelve year international career Archie Thompson managed to score 28 times in 54 matches, a strike rate of .52 goals per game, which technically puts him ahead of Lionel Messi (.46 per game) and Cristiano Ronaldo (.44 per game).  This would be an amazing achievement and perhaps a household name, if it were not for two things. Firstly, if you take out that game of 13 goals, his strike rate drops to .28 goals per game. Secondly, Thompson went on an international goal scoring drought in 2005 that lasted until 2012 over the course of ten games.

Final Game

Archie Thompson thanks fans as he walks off during his final match in Melbourne (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

This week, Melbourne Victory played Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors in the Asian Champions League in a final home match for Thompson. Sadly the Koreans levelled the score at one-all in the second half, but that would not stop Archie Thompson from making his lap of honor around the grounds as one of the Victory fan’s favorites. Outside Melbourne he will most likely be remembered as obscure bar trivia until Mongolia, the current lowest ranking nation according to FIFA, take on a high level opponent.



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