Unofficial Football World Championships

Unofficial Football World Championships

  • Unofficial Football World Championships - World Football - World Football Blog


    Welcome to the Unofficial Football World Championships – probably the least known but most exciting football competition on Earth.
    This is how it works: the Unofficial Football World Championships (UFWC) pitches real international teams into a continuous series of boxing-style title matches. Winners of UFWC title matches become title-holders, and Unofficial Football World Champions, and move up the rankings table.

    UFWC lineage goes right back to the very first international football match in 1872, between Scotland and England in Glasgow. As Scotland and England were the only international teams in existence, the winner of this initial match could safely claim to be the best side in the world – the Unofficial Football World Champions, if you will. Unfortunately, neither side managed to win the match – the score was a rather disappointing 0-0.

    So swiftly fast-forward to the second international football match, again between England and Scotland, and played in London on 8 March 1873. This time there were a full six goals – England won 4-2, and became the very first Unofficial Football World Champions. But they didn‘t hold the title for long. In 1874 they were beaten 2-1 by Scotland, meaning the UFWC title passed to the Scots.

    The UFWC title bounced backward and forward between England and Scotland, and then Ireland and Wales got involved. The British home nations dominated the UFWC during international football‘s formative years, until the instigation of international tours and tournaments meant sides from all around the globe began to play each other.

    Following the UFWC lineage through more than 800 friendly and competitive matches, we can trace how the title was passed between over 40 different nations during more than 140 years of international football. It has been held by most major European and South American teams, plus comparative footballing minnows like Australia, Israel, Ecuador, and the tiny Dutch Antilles. The title has been contested at World Cup finals and in seemingly meaningless friendlies. It has been won by the most celebrated players of all time, and by previously unknown and unsung heroes.

    The UFWC also operates an all-time ranking system. Sides are awarded one ranking point for every title match victory. No points are awarded for a draw. As of 2013, Scotland top the rankings table, some way ahead of second-placed England. That is a source of debate, but in the early years the UFWC, like football in general, was dominated by sides from the British Isles, of whom Scotland have won most title matches.

    If the Unofficial Football World Championships‘ statistical roots can be traced back to 1872, the idea of an unofficial title was first born in 1967, and the foundation of the UFWC as an organisation began in 2002. In 1967 Scottish football fans claimed that, in beating World Cup holders England 3-2 at Wembley in 1967, Scotland had become unofficial world champions. In 2002, a caller to a football phone-in radio show echoed that claim, and threw down a tantalising statistical gauntlet. Who, the caller wondered, were the current holders of the unofficial title?

    Identifying the current unofficial champions required tracing the lineage of title matches from 1872 right up to date. Various dedicated football stattos reached for their record books to undertake this mammoth task. Differing methods and rules meant that there were various inconsistencies, which the UFWC sought to iron out. The launch of the website in 2003 saw a definitive set of rules and records created. The UFWC was ‘officially’ born.

    The UFWC has expanded over recent years, introducing the CW Alcock Trophy and Hughie the Mascot, publishing a book, creating merchandise, and regularly adding new features to the website.

    The Unofficial Football World Championships remains very much, well, unofficial, but it has received a thumbs-up of sorts from FIFA. ‘As long as people have fun with football and that it is played in the spirit of respect for all involved, the non-violation of the Laws of the Game and the ethics of sport, FIFA is more than happy!’ exclaimed a statement from the FIFA Media Department. ‘We wish UFWC fans a lot of fun!’

    And fun is what it‘s all about. The UFWC isn‘t going to usurp FIFA or supplant the World Cup any time soon, but it does neatly fill the four-year void between the official tournaments, and there is a good amount of enjoyment to be had in watching an apparently meaningless international friendly match with the knowledge that the victor will become the latest title-holder in an illustrious lineage that stretches back 140-plus years.

    Every UFWC match is a cup final, and, for football fans, it doesn‘t get more exciting than that. Game on.


    Date Added: 01/03/14

    Last Checked: 16/12/15

    Date Updated At Last Check: 15/01/15

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  • UFWC Review of the Year 2015

    Posted on 15 December, 2015

    15 matches, 38 goals and 5 different champions. That’s the story in brief of the Unofficial Football World Champions in 2015. It was a year in which the UFWC title was held exclusively within South America, and was contested at the Copa America tournament, during World Cup qualification, and in a handful of friendlies. The year began with Brazil holding the title, and ended with Uruguay as unofficial champions. Welcome to the UFWC Review of the Year 2015.

    Brazil had taken the UFWC title from Argentina back in October 2014, and the Selecao opened this year’s UFWC fixtures in with a 3-1 win over France in Saint Denis in March 2015. Continuing their world tour, they then defeated Chile 1-0 at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London. Friendly wins over Mexico and Honduras followed, before Brazil took the UFWC title into the Copa America in June.

    An opening 2-1 win over Peru was Brazil’s ninth consecutive UFWC title match win. Dunga’s team looked formidable, but were clearly very reliant on captain and talisman Neymar, who scored one and made one against Peru. But in their next match, Brazil lost Neymar to a red card, and lost the UFWC title to Colombia.

    Colombia had last won a UFWC title match at the 1994 World Cup, so it had been a 21-year wait for Los Cafeteros, who bettered the Selecao for much of the game. Inter central defender Jeison Murillo was Colombia’s UFWC hero, sweeping home a first-half goal with his left foot after Brazil failed to clear a free kick. There were unwanted scenes at the final whistle, with Neymar sent off for head-butting Murillo.

    A 0-0 draw with Peru was just enough to see Colombia retain the UFWC title and squeeze into the Copa quarter finals, where they played out an epic encounter with Argentina, eventually losing the UFWC title on penalties, with Argentina’s Carlos Tevez scoring the decisive kick.

    Argentina had flattered to deceive as they progressed through the Copa tournament, but that all changed in the semi final against Paraguay. Lionel Messi had an extraordinary game, being involved in everything as Argentina won 6-1. Rojo, Pastore, Di Maria (2), Aguero and Higuain were the scorers as Argentina booked their place in the Copa final, where they would play Chile.

    As so often happens at international tournaments, the Copa America final was something of a disappointment, with a lack of goals meaning it had to be decided via a penalty shoot-out. Only Messi scored for Argentina, while Fernandez, Vidal, Aranguiz and Sanchez all scored for Chile, meaning La Roja were Copa America winners and UFWC champions.

    Chile began their reign with a 3-2 friendly match win over Paraguay. Then, in October, came the World Cup qualifiers, where Chile proved their UFWC credentials by beating Brazil 2-0, with Vargas and Sanchez the scorers.

    Vargas and Sanchez scored again – two goals each – in a 4-3 win over Peru. A 1-1 draw with Colombia meant Chile retained the title, but their reign came to an end when they were beaten 3-0 by Uruguay. Godin, Pereira and Caceres were the goalscorers.

    Uruguay have now won 21 UFWC title matches, and are 11th in the all-time rankings, needing only four more wins to make it into the top ten. La Celeste are second in the CONMEBOL WC qualifying table, three points behind Ecuador. Their next qualifier is against Brazil next March, however they are likely to play a friendly match ahead of that date, which, once confirmed, would become the next UFWC title match.

    UFWC rankings

    Rank   Team Played Won Last Held
    1 Scotland 148 86 28-Mar-07
    2 England 144 73 20-Jun-00
    3 Argentina 101 61 04-Jul-15
    4 Netherlands 82 50 09-Jul-14
    5 Russia 63 41 23-Feb-00
    6 Brazil 70 38 17-Jun-15
    7 Germany 67 28 03-Sep-14
    7 Sweden 45 28 06-Feb-13
    9 Italy 56 27 22-Aug-07
    10 France 52 25 28-Mar-01
    11 Uruguay 56 21 CURRENT

    See full rankings table

    UFWC results

    909 17/11/2015 URUGUAY 3-0 CHILE Montevideo WQ +
    908 12/11/2015 CHILE 1-1 COLOMBIA Santiago WQ +
    907 13/10/2015 PERU 3-4 CHILE Lima WQ +
    906 08/10/2015 CHILE 2-0 BRAZIL Santiago WQ +
    905 05/09/2015 CHILE 3-2 PARAGUAY Santiago FR +
    904 04/07/2015 CHILE* 0-0 ARGENTINA Santiago CA +
    903 30/06/2015 ARGENTINA 6-1 PARAGUAY Concepcion CA +
    902 26/06/2015 ARGENTINA* 0-0 COLOMBIA Vina Del Mar CA +
    901 21/06/2015 COLOMBIA 0-0 PERU Temuco CA +
    900 17/06/2015 BRAZIL 0-1 COLOMBIA Santiago CA +
    899 14/06/2015 BRAZIL 2-1 PERU Temuco CA +
    898 10/06/2015 BRAZIL 1-0 HONDURAS Porto Alegre FR +
    897 07/06/2015 BRAZIL 2-0 MEXICO Sao Paulo FR +
    896 29/03/2015 BRAZIL 1-0 CHILE London FR +
    895 26/03/2015 FRANCE 1-3 BRAZIL Saint-Denis FR +

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