February 14, 2000 - Kuwait 20-0 Bhutan, Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium: Some nations just don't care much for football.
The turn of the Millennium saw some utterly bizarre results across the regions of Asia and Oceania. And for Island nations such as Guam, Tonga or American Samoa, the prospect of battling the likes of Australia or Japan ranks on such a level of futility that it may not be too much of a stretch to claim only King Leonidas and General Custer have faced more pointlessly unwinnable scenarios in the past.
On April 9, 2001, Australia beat Tonga 22-0 setting the record for largest win in International football. Two days later they beat their own record by putting 31 past American Samoa, and to be fair, the entire Oceania qualifying campaign for 2002 was a bit of a farce.
The Asian qualifying rounds for the 2002 World Cup were just as bad too. Oman scored 12 against Laos. Guam conceded 35 in two games to Iran and Tajikistan. And Kazakhstan's +18 goal difference incredibly lost out to Iraq's +23 in the first qualifying groups. Having looked up the Asian qualifying results from 94, 98, 2006, and 2010, it does seem that 2002 was particularly rough on those nations whose FIFA rankings sit near the 200 mark.
After Australia left Oceania to join Asia's football federation a level of relative parity has been left throughout that continent. And except for Tajikistan and Indonesia the most recent World Cup qualifying rounds throughout Asia saw mostly competitive games.
Anyway, for some reason between the World Cups of France and South Korea/Japan, record thrashings took place in most countries from the Red Sea to French Polynesia.
And in February of 2000, 11 unfortunate men of Bhutan, a small Himalayan nation sandwiched between India and Tibet, made their way to Kuwait to play in four matches in the space of eight days against Nepal, Kuwait, Turkmenistan and Yemen.
They lost 3-0, 20-0, 8-0, and 11-2 respectively.
In fairness, this was Bhutan's first foray into the Continental football scene, and while conceding 44 goals was bad enough, those two solitary strikes against Yemen I like to imagine were celebrated with Marco Tardelli levels of enthusiasm.
The 20-0 loss to Kuwait was at the time the heaviest defeat in International football. Striker Bashir Abdullah grabbed eight and even their goalkeeper scored the 18th from the penalty spot.
And interestingly enough, just two days later another international footballing record was set by Japan's Masashi Nakayama as he scored a hat-trick against Brunei in three minutes and 15 seconds.
The plight of these tiny nations on the global footballing world is always one of pointlessness and vanity, but considering I will probably never stumble across any other football-related stories concerning Kuwait or Bhutan I will leave you with one of my favourite documentaries - The Other Final.
It's a brilliant and uplifting film made by two Dutch filmmakers who organised a friendly match between the world's two lowest ranked teams, Montserrat and Bhutan, which was played on the same day as the 2002 World Cup final.