The lop-sided scoreline, still football's biggest win at senior international level, was greeted with frustration rather than jubilation in Australian footballing circles.
The match itself, played before a crowd of 2,500 in Coffs Harbour, had the air of a ritual slaughter well before kick-off.
Worse still, the Pacific minnows could not field most of their senior players due to eligibility issues, and were forced to put out a team with an average age of just 18.
"We are going to ask for help from above. We are asking the Lord to help keep the score down."
- Men against boys -
Luihe's prayers briefly appeared to have been answered as American Samoa held the Australians goalless in the first eight minutes -- before Con Boutsianis scored directly from a corner.
It opened the floodgates for an unprecedented drubbing as Australia raced to a 16-0 lead at half-time then kept hammering in goals after the break.
The rout was so comprehensive that the scoreboard operators lost count and showed the score as 32-0 at the final whistle.
Once that was cleared up, the scale of the result became apparent.
Reaction to the men-against-boys hiding was swift.
Even Thompson was sheepish, despite describing his world record as a dream come true.
"That sort of thing doesn't come along every day," he said.
"But you have to look at the teams we are playing and start asking questions. We don't need to play these games."
In Australia, attention focused on the drawbacks of keeping the Socceroos in Oceania, the smallest and weakest of FIFA's six continental confederations.
- 'Final nail in coffin' -
"It is too late to end the carnage this time around, but there should be no repetition in four years," football correspondent Michael Cockerill wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Instead, the Pacific region's best side must prove its worth through a play-off with a team from another, stronger confederation.
It repeatedly led to a situation where the Socceroos breezed through Oceania qualifiers, only to fail during the inter-continental play-offs when they encountered quality opponents for the first time.
"Australia trying to get into Asia goes back to at least the 1950s, if not the inter-war period," he told AFP.
"All through the ASF (Australian Soccer Federation) period (1961 to mid-2000s) they were well aware that apart from New Zealand there were no games against Oceania teams that were of any value to Australia.
"They didn't get any crowds, didn't get any interest, you couldn't sell it to the media. It (the 31-0 match) may have been a final nail in the coffin.
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