What now, Burton? How 10 battered teams fared after heavy defeats

Manchester City 9-0 Burton Albion
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Australia 31-0 American Samoa (2001)

“Embarrassing, depressed, irritated, frustrated – a very emotional, traumatic experience,” American Samoa goalkeeper Nicky Salapu told FourFourTwo, describing the match where he and his fellow countrymen conceded a record-setting 31 goals to Australia in 2001.

The tiny Pacific nation were clear whipping boys heading into their 2002 World Cup qualifier, but even this scoreline perhaps wasn't surprising for the Socceroos – Frank Farina's side had already beaten Tonga 22-0, while American Samoa had lost 13-0 to Fiji and 8-0 to Samoa. 

Unsurprisingly, the result cemented American Samoa’s position at the foot of FIFA's rankings, while Australia questioned the qualifying format and were later entered into Asia's section for the 2010 World Cup. 

But American Samoa's tale had a happy ending. After years of hard work, they won their first ever official match in 2011 by beating Tonga 2-1. They are now ranked 190th in the world and their remarkable story was told in the excellent, uplifting 2014 documentary Next Goal Wins.

"I would love to show Australia that we’re not the team that was beaten 13 years ago," said Salapu, who now lives in Seattle. "I want to show them I’m a different person, I’m up for the challenge. Anytime, anywhere, I’ll be ready no matter what."

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AS Adema 149-0 SO l'Emyrne (2002) 

This bizarre game occurred in Madagascar on October 31, 2002, and needless to say it proved a horror show for the officials. This wasn't so much a match, but an utter farce.

It was part of a four-team round-robin tournament that SOE had been knocked out of thanks to a debatable penalty in their previous game. With no chance of winning anything, they continued to score own goal after own goal, with opponents AS Adema and spectators utterly bemused.

SOE were punished after the clash, with coach Zaka Be banned for three years and four of his players suspended until the end of the season.

Amazingly, the match wasn’t thrown out and the result stands to this day as the highest score ever recorded (it's in Guinness and everything). Perhaps fighting the power wasn’t the greatest idea SOE ever had. 

Middlesbrough 8-1 Manchester City (2008)

Middlesbrough Manchester City 8-1

Manchester City’s new revolution under Sven-Goran Eriksson hadn’t gone quite to plan – yet although the team had fallen into mid-table mediocrity, nobody could have foreseen their final-day demolition.

Richard Dunne was dismissed after 15 minutes and chaos ensued as Gareth Southgate’s men showed their ruthlessness in front of goal. Afonso Alves hit a hat-trick and Stewart Downing bagged two, while Adam Johnson, Fabio Rochemback and Jeremie Aliadiere made up the numbers. Elano's terrific 87th-minute strike was a mere consolation. 

The game proved to be Sven’s final game as Manchester City boss; Mark Hughes arrived to kick-start the new era we know today, bringing with him the likes of Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Robinho and... er, Tal Ben Haim. Middlesbrough were relegated two seasons later and only returned to the top flight in 2016.  

Tottenham 9-1 Wigan (2009)

Jermain Defoe Wigan

Perhaps the most startling fact about Spurs’ emphatic victory over Wigan in November 2009 is that it was only 1-0 at half-time.

Tottenham were ruthless in a devastating second half, with Jermain Defoe helping himself to five goals across 36 bonkers minutes. Wigan were particularly leaky that season, and had already been on the receiving end of hidings from Manchester United (5-0), Arsenal (4-0) and Portsmouth (4-0).

They would go on to receive another battering from United (5-0 again), plus an ugly 8-0 loss to Chelsea on the last day of the season – yet still finished 16th and avoided the drop by six points. 

PSV 10-0 Feyenoord (2010)

PSV Feyenoord

Feyenoord’s 2010/11 season had not started well. Before they faced PSV, the Stadionclub had won just twice in their first nine games of the season – and their 10th would prove utterly humiliating. 

Things began badly when midfielder Kelvin Leerdam was sent off after 34 minutes, but the Rotterdam club were only 2-0 down at half-time. 

Like Spurs, though, PSV were relentless in the second half. They scored five times within 17 minutes of the restart against a side featuring future Netherlands internationals Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Leroy Fer and Georginio Wijnaldum. 

Feyenoord finished 10th in a dismal season, but the experience clearly proved a valuable one for their aforementioned youngsters, none of whom remain at De Kuip. 

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