Samoa ends American Samoa’s dream run
American Samoa’s captivating run in Oceania’s World Cup
qualifying ended Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Samoa on Silao Malo’s
American Samoa, 204th and last in FIFA rankings, captured world
attention when it beat Tonga in its opening match at the
four-nation, round-robin tournament, notching its first-ever
Another win Sunday would have seen it advance to the second
round of qualifying, and the defense, based around center back
Johnny Saelua – thought to be the world’s first transgender
international – held strong until the 90th minute when Malo scored
on a counterattack.
Samoa advanced to the next stage in Oceania qualifying, where it
will be in a round-robin group with New Caledonia, Tahiti and
Vanuatu. The other second-round group involves 2010 World Cup
qualifier New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon
Islands, with the top two from each group advancing.