Haiti has not qualified for the men’s World Cup since 1974 and will not return there in 2022, thanks in part to one of the worst own goals it has ever seen.
Haiti faced Canada on Tuesday in the second leg of a World Cup qualifying match. The Canadians won the first leg, 1-0, in Port-au-Prince, giving them a crucial away goal. It was already an uphill battle for Haiti, but things looked promising after a goalless first half. And then the game turned upside down right after the opening whistle of the second half, when disaster struck Josué Duverger.
One of Duverger’s defenders gave him a routine backward pass and Duverger sniffed at him not once, but twice as he watched the ball roll meekly toward the back of the net.
The Canadian announcers were astonished by what they saw.
“Oh my word!” the man said play by play. “Can you believe what happened?”
The goal nearly ended Haiti’s chances of advancing to the next qualifying round. It put Canada 2-0 ahead on aggregate, meaning Haiti needed three goals in the final 44 minutes to win or two to force extra time. Canada scored two more goals and secured a 4-0 aggregate victory.
It’s no exaggeration to say that it could be the worst own goal in the history of high-level football. The error was so mind-boggling that even after watching all the reruns, it’s hard to know exactly where Duverger went wrong. Sniffing on the first pass attempt is understandable (and not very uncommon for a goalie), but the second swing and miss is what makes for an all-time low. It is very subtle, but in the final reproduction angle You can see that the toe of Duverger’s left boot makes slight contact with the ball as he places his foot to swing his right leg. That little touch was enough to send the ball bouncing just inches out of reach and over the line.
The goal had to be especially painful for Duverger, considering that it came against the country where he was born. Canada now advances to the final qualifying round for the World Cup for the first time in 24 years. It is one of eight countries (the United States, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica are the others) that will play a free-for-all schedule to determine the three CONCACAF representatives at the 2022 World Cup.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.