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Jun 24, 2010 | The Most Unexpected Game

What with the World Cup fanfare, I thought it’d be interesting to bring this little gem of a story up for your entertainment.

The year was 1994, the location, the sunny island of Trinidad and Tobago. The tournament was the Shell Caribbean Cup, a soccer championship for teams in the Caribbean Football Union. In Group 1 was Barbados, Grenada, and Puerto Rico. Tournament rules then stipulated that

a) each game must have a clear winner, i.e. no draws
b) if a game went into overtime, each goal was worth two points

Barbados had to score at least 2 points over their opponent in order to advance to the next round, and to that end they were doing well, leading 2-0 until 7 minutes before the end of the game. Ironically, an inadvertent own-goal by a Bajan (Barbado-an) defender at the 83rd minute made the score 2-1. With seemingly no hope for getting past Grenada’s defense, they realized there was one way they could go into overtime and hopefully score a single goal in order to win: score against themselves:

With the score equalized at 2-2, the game would need to go into overtime. The Grenadans soon realized that they could still manage to pull off going into the next round if they scored an own goal, for the goal margin will still be one, not two. So for the remaining minutes of the game the spectators were apparently treated to the odd sight of Grenada trying to score any goal, own or otherwise, and being defended on both ends of the field by Barbados!

In the end Barbados did manage to hold off Grenada from scoring (even an own-goal) and subsequently managed to score in the overtime, leading them to the next round with a final score of 4-2. With two equalizing games against Dominica (1-1) and Guadeloupe (2-2), they didn’t manage to proceed to the next round, however. It was apparently this oddball game that led to soccer regulators to decide that round-qualifying games be played simultaneously, which is how the currently World Cup is played.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2010 at 11:18 pm, EST under the category of Articles, Videos. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.