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First XI: Thrashings

After 14-time Eredivisie winners Feyenoord suffered their heaviest ever defeat - losing 10-0 at PSV Eindhoven - ESPNsoccernet selects some of the game's greatest ever thrashings.

Arbroath 36-0 Bon Accord (1885)

The administrative error that saw Aberdeen's Orion Cricket Club invited to play in the Scottish Cup at the expense of Aberdeen's Orion FC allowed Arbroath to establish the biggest victory in British football history.

The mix-up had resulted from the fact that many clubs played multiple sports, but the assembled bowlers and batsmen of Orion CC accepted the invitation and adopted the name Bon Accord for their football debut.

Arbroath's John Petrie - just 18 years old - scored a record 13 goals that day, while reports indicate Bon Accord did not muster a single shot on goal. Arboath 'keeper Jim Milne Snr borrowed an umbrella from a friend in the crowd, and referee Dave Stormont even admitted the recorded scoreline had flattered Bon Accord as he had "chalked off seven goals" on the basis of "very doubtful" offside decisions.

In September 1887, Orion FC were able to fulfil the original invitation when they were again drawn against Arbroath in the Scottish Cup first round. Arbroath won that one 18-0.

Dundee Harp 35-0 Aberdeen Rovers (1885)

As Arbroath were racking up their 36-0 win over Bon Accord on September 12, 1885, Dundee Harp came very, very close to stealing their thunder against another Aberdeen-based side less than 20 miles away.

The referee actually recorded 37 goals as Harp thrashed the short-lived Aberdeen Rovers, but the former's club secretary had only noted 35, and the ref - who admitted struggling to keep track - registered 35-0 as the official scoreline.

Irishman Tom O'Kane, a former Arbroath player, is said to have insisted the club send a telegram to his former team-mates boasting of what he believed was a record-breaking result. Arbroath sent a reply, with both parties assuming the other was joking, and O'Kane only found out that the 36-0 result was genuine when he took the train to visit his former club the following week.

Preston 26-0 Hyde (1887)

Still the record for a competitive match in England, Preston beat Hyde - formed two years earlier - 26-0 in the first round of the FA Cup.

Preston's great side owed everything to Major William Sudell, a cotton mill manager who arrived at the club as a teenager in 1867 before becoming chairman. He revolutionised the club by signing a number of Scottish players.

English football, as is its way, had been left behind almost as soon as it had codified the rules in 1863. Adopting 1-1-8 or 1-2-7 formations, the English believed football was all about individual skill. Scotland, playing a more conservative 2-2-6 in their first international game against England in 1872, had hit upon the idea of passing among themselves, a tactic considered unsportsmanlike by the English.

Sudell, happy to break with convention, had tempted Scottish players south with the promise of jobs in his mill as well as payment for performances. The FA had been fervently opposed to professionalism, and as such Sudell's team were kicked out of the 1884 FA Cup after a victory over Upton Park when the Londoners complained that Preston had paid players on the books.

In 1885, the FA relented over player wages, and Sudell flourished. With his superior squad in place, he adopted a 2-3-5 formation, using a blackboard to explain his tactics, and the victory over Hyde in 1887 illustrated just how far ahead of most of their contemporaries they were.

They were beaten in the cup final in that campaign, losing 3-1 to West Brom at the Kennington Oval, but they went on to seal their place in history in the inaugural season of the Football League in 1888-89, winning win the league and cup without losing a game to become known as the 'Invincibles'.

Real Madrid 11-1 Barcelona (1943)

The Spanish Civil War had stoked tensions between Madrid and Barca, with the latter becoming, in their famous phrase, més que un club, a symbol of Catalanism that stood apart from the capital side.

The war brought a halt to games between the teams from 1936 to 1939 and, while Barca had the better of the early post-war encounters, Madrid had won four of their five meetings prior to their infamous 1943 cup games.

In the semi-final of the Copa del Generalisimo - as the Copa del Rey was known during General Francisco Franco's reign - Barca won 3-0 at their Les Corts stadium in the first leg, with the Catalonian fans whistling at the visiting players.

Franco is said to have been enraged by events that day and the story goes that, ahead of the second leg, Spain's director of state security had warned the Barca players over their lack of patriotism and told them they were "only playing because of the generosity of the regime". Madrid's fans were given whistles to help discourage their guests, and Madrid were 8-0 up by half-time in an overall 11-1 win that remains the biggest in the club's history.

Hungary 7-1 England (1954)

Upon viewing stout figure of Ferenc Puskas when Hungary arrived at Wembley in 1953, an unidentified England player famously said: "Look at that little fat chap. We'll murder this lot."

It was naive to say the least, given Hungary's burgeoning reputation around the continent, and the visitors outplayed and outthought England in a 6-3 victory that ended the host's 90-year unbeaten home run against sides from outside the British Isles.

In May the following year, England travelled to Budapest seeking to claw back some dignity. There, they suffered a 7-1 defeat, eclipsing the 7-2 loss to Scotland in 1878 in a result that remains the heaviest in the country's history. "We admired the spirit of the English team," the generous Hungary manager Gustav Sebes said, with England boss Walter Winterbottom admitting the scoreline had been entirely justified.

Manchester United 10-0 Anderlecht (1956)

Chelsea, the English champions of 1954-55, had withdrawn from the inaugural European Champion Clubs' Cup on the advice of Alan Hardaker, the Secretary of the Football League. His opposition to the competition appeared to stem from a racist attitude towards Europe ("Too many wogs and Dagoes," he told journalist Brian Glanville) and a desire to ensure the English Football League remained the most desirable trophy for its clubs.

When United won the league in 1955-56, though, Matt Busby was determined to take part in the new competition, and defied Hardaker's attempts to prevent them doing so. Busby's Babes were to make an instant impression.

On September 12, 1956, United took on Anderlecht, the Belgian champions, in the first leg of the preliminary round. They won 2-0 in Brussels in a hard-fought encounter in which goalkeeper Ray Wood had produced a series of impressive saves.

The return leg - played at City's Maine Road ground because Old Trafford lacked floodlights - was a whitewash, with Dennis Viollet scoring four goals and Tommy Taylor three in a 10-0 win on the night. "I can never expect to see anything better than this," Busby said. "That was the greatest display of football I have ever seen. They played as I've always dreamed they could."

Busby sought to establish United as the greatest team in the world, but they were beaten 5-3 in the semi-finals that year by the reigning champions, Real Madrid, who would go on to dominate the competition's early years.

Hungary 10-1 El Salvador (1982)

Hungary became the first - and as yet only - team to reach double figures in the World Cup when they thrashed El Salvador in the teams' opening game of the 1982 tournament in Spain.

El Salvador had endured a difficult debut tournament in 1970, failing to score a goal in their three successive defeats, and coach Mauricio 'Pipo' Rodriguez was able to put a positive spin on the 10-1 defeat: "I am both happy and sad. I'm happy because we scored our first World Cup finals goal, but obviously the size of our defeat leaves me sad."

Spain 12-1 Malta (1983)

A 2-1 defeat to Netherlands in their penultimate Euro 1984 qualifier left Spain with little hope of reaching the finals in France. Both teams would face Malta in their final games and, after Netherlands won 5-0 on December 17, Spain required an 11-goal victory four days later if they were to finish top.

There had looked to be little prospect of Spanish success when they led 3-1 at half-time, but they scored another nine in the second half to prompt a mass pitch invasion.

Malta goalkeeper John Bonello became a popular figure in Spain and, in 2006, he fronted an Amstel beer campaign in the country, labelled el amigo perfecto.

"To me the advert is in bad taste, of course," former Maltese FA president George Abela said. "That was a very bad moment for Maltese football and there is nothing to celebrate."

Bonello, though, felt he'd been "honoured" by the advert. "Well, the 12-1 loss is a fact, but it's only the introduction to the advert," he told a Malta Today journalist. "You are taking it wrongly. They chose me as a sportsman, not because of the game results. I was chosen from thousands who could have done the advert. Whoever thinks it is humiliating to do such an advert is just plain ignorant."

Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich (1995)

Despite the absence of key man Eric Cantona through a long-term suspension, United racked up the biggest ever win the Premier League has seen when they took the Tractor Boys apart at Old Trafford with five goals from Andy Cole and two from Mark Hughes. "We want one," the visiting fans chanted.

With Blackburn still ahead in the table, though, striker Alan Shearer was unconcerned by United's performance. "There are no easy games in the Premier League," he said, "unless you are playing Ipswich at home."

United eventually finished a point behind Blackburn that season, while Ipswich finished bottom having conceded 93 goals.

Australia 31-0 American Samoa (2001)

American Samoa's sole victory to date came against Wallis and Futuna in 1983, and they had lost 13-0 and 9-0 against Fiji and Samoa respectively in the World Cup 2002 qualifiers leading up to their visit to Australia.

"Frightened is not the word," American Samoa coach Tunoa Lui said ahead of the trip. "We are going to ask for help from above. We are asking the Lord to help keep the score down."

The Socceroos, fresh from a 22-0 win over Tonga, took ten minutes to open their account on the day, but they had racked up four by the 14th minute. Archie Thompson finished the game with 13, matching John Petrie's record haul with Arbroath, and - as with those early Scottish games - confusion arose over the number of goals and FIFA had to await the referee's report before confirming the scoreline.

Having scored 53 goals without conceding in their opening two games in the Oceania qualification group, Australia boss Frank Farina was less than impressed by the standard of opposition. "No one really wins," he said. "It's a disgrace, embarrassing."

Australia moved to the Asian Football Confederation at the start of 2006.

AS Adema 149-0 Stade Olympique de L'Emyrne (2002)

The Madagascan football authorities stepped in to ban several SO l'Emyrne players and their coach after they decided to protest a refereeing decision that cost them the title by repeatedly firing goals into their own net.

Defending champions SO l'Emyrne had been held to a 2-2 draw by Domoina Soavina Atsimondrano as a result of a controversial late penalty decision in the round-robin tournament to decide the league.

As a result, they opted to use their final game - against newly-crowned champions Adema - to make their point. The Adema players didn't score any of the goals and simply stood around, bemused, as their opponents set about establishing the greatest competitive defeat in world football.


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