Haiti has not qualified for the men’s World Cup since 1974 and it won’t be headed back there in 2022, thanks in part to one of the worst own goals you’ll ever see.
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 scoreless first half. And then the game got turned on its head right after the opening whistle of the second half when disaster struck for Josué Duverger.
One of Duverger’s defenders played a routine back pass to him, and Duverger whiffed on it not once but twice as he watched the ball roll meekly into the back of the net.
The Canadian announcers were astonished by what they saw.
“Oh my word!” the play-by-play man said. “Can you believe that happened?”
The goal all but ended Haiti’s chances of advancing to the next round of qualifying. It put Canada ahead 2–0 on aggregate, meaning Haiti then needed three goals in the final 44 minutes to win or two to force extra time. Canada went on to score two more goals and secure a 4–0 aggregate victory.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that might be the worst own goal in the history of high-level soccer. The blunder was so mind-boggling that even after watching all the replays, it’s difficult to tell exactly where Duverger went wrong. Whiffing on the first pass attempt is understandable (and not terribly rare for a goalkeeper), but the second swing and miss is what makes it such an all-time lowlight. It’s very subtle, but in the final replay angle you can see that the toe of Duverger’s left boot makes slight contact with the ball as he plants the foot to swing through with his right leg. That little touch was enough to send the ball skittering just inches out of his reach and over the line.
The goal had to be especially painful for Duverger, considering it came against the country where he was born. Canada now advances to the final round of World Cup qualifying for the first time in 24 years. It is one of eight countries (the U.S., Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica are the others) that will play a round-robin schedule to determine the three CONCACAF representatives at the 2022 World Cup.
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