Wednesday, November 20, 2013

20 November 1949 - The Most Pointless World Cup Qualification Campaign Ever

On 20 November 1949, Turkey got their record win, beating Syria 7-0 in a World Cup qualifier that also happened to be Syria's first match.

It was the opening qualifying match for the three-team Group 2, which had one qualifying spot up for grabs. Turkey and Syria were scheduled to play a home-and-away series, with the winner advancing to play a similar series against the group's other member, Austria.

Turkey hosted the first leg in Ankara against the newly-formed Syrian team and quickly established their dominance, going up 2-0 in the first sixteen minutes with a brace from Fahreddin Cansever. They then got goals from Bülent Eken (44'), Lefter Küçükandonyadis (66'), Erol Keskin (67'), and Gündüz Kılıç (72') before Cansever completed his hat-trick in the 87th minute.

The teams never played the second leg, as Syria withdrew after the first one. Turkey then advanced to play Austria, but the Austrians also withdrew. That meant that Turkey received the group's qualification spot, but they eventually withdrew as well. FIFA then offered the group's spot to Group 6 runners-up Portugal, but they declined and the spot went unfilled.

The 7-0 scoreline against Syria remains a record for Turkey, though they matched it against South Korea in 1954 and against San Marino in 1996.

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