World's worst team earns first draw

American Samoa's much-maligned football team looks set to shake off its unenviable status as the world's worst side after a 1-1 draw with Oceania rivals the Cook Islands.

American Samoa's first draw at international level builds on the team's historic 2-1 win over Tonga earlier this week, also a first.

American Samoa are placed last at 204 on the FIFA world rankings, alongside Andorra, Samoa, San Marino and Montserrat, all with zero points.

But their run of form in the Oceania confederation's preliminary World Cup qualifiers will give American Samoa enough points to climb off the bottom rung when the FIFA ranks are updated in December.

Before entering this week's tournament in neighbouring Samoa, the team had been defeated in all 31 of its previous international matches, including a world record 31-0 thrashing by Australia in 2001.

Other notable losses in American Samoa's role of shame included 15-0 to Vanuatu in 2007, 12-1 to the Solomon Islands in the same year, 13-0 to Fiji in 2001 and 18-0 to Tahiti in 2000.

Coach Thomas Rongen, a former US under-20 team coach who only took on his new role three weeks ago, said his aim was to move American Samoa's ranking "into the hundreds".

He admitted to the Football Federation American Samoa website after the Tonga win that he knew nothing about Pacific football when he accepted the post but was relishing the challenge of transforming the team.

"It's amateur football at its best," he said. "The game at the highest level can be very cynical but this is just about 23 guys making sacrifices.

"They're not getting anything to be here and some are spending time away from their jobs and are losing money because of that."

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