How Brazil went from World Cup zeros to UFWC heroes

Neymar Corner by Jose Martinez

The 2014 World Cup was supposed to be a celebration of Brazilian football, but it ended in tears for the host nation. That’s not to say it wasn’t a great tournament, with wonderful hosts. Observers suggested Brazil 2014 was the best World Cup since at least France 98, or perhaps even Italia 90. But Brazilian fans might not agree. Many had expected their team to become FIFA World Champions for the sixth time. That didn’t happen. But they did bounce back, from humiliation, disappointment and criticism, and by the end of 2014 Brazil were the UFWC Unofficial Football World Champions. How did they manage that?

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UFWC Review of the Year 2014

Photo by Paulisson Miura (Creative Commons)

15 title matches, 32 goals, six champions – that’s a summary of the Unofficial Football World Championships in 2014. In contrast to 2013, this year the UFWC was mostly dominated by some of international football’s biggest names, as the unofficial title was contested at the official World Cup, culminating in the creation of an ‘undisputed’ football world champion. But that undisputed championship didn’t last long, as the official and unofficial titles were separated by a resurgent football nation. And there were plenty of other surprises along the way.

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Get the UFWC book for Christmas

New UFWC book

Christmas is fast approaching, and if you’re looking for a gift for a fellow football fan (or for yourself) make sure to grab the official UFWC book, Unofficial Football World Champions by Paul Brown, available now from all good book shops. Labelled ‘a fascinating history of football’ by FourFourTwo magazine in a five-star review, the 2014 edition is expanded to include new matches, teams, players and statistics. The book is available in paperback and as an ebook.

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Austria 1-2 Brazil: Seleçao end tough year as UFWC champs

Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Wien by Markus Unger

Brazil secured their sixth straight post-World Cup victory, and their fourth straight UFWC title match win, to remain Unofficial Football World Champions. But this wasn’t as easy as previous wins, and challengers Austria did score a goal – the first Brazil have conceded since the World Cup. The result means Brazil will end 2014 as UFWC champions, an achievement that seemed highly unlikely following a wretched campaign as World Cup hosts. The turnaround achieved by Dunga and his players is remarkable, and they thoroughly deserve to end the year as Unofficial Football World Champions.

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Turkey 0-4 Brazil: Two-goal Neymar retains UFWC title

Atatürk Olimpiyat by Myrat - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Unofficial football world champions Brazil cruised past challengers Turkey with another fantastic post-World Cup performance of the type that was sorely lacking during the official tournament. Turkish fans sang the name of two-goal man of the match Neymar, and booed and whistled their own team, such was the gulf in class on show. It took Brazil 20 minutes to open the scoring, with Neymar beating the Turkey defence to latch onto a long ball and slip it past keeper Volkan Demirel. That was Neymar’s 41st goal for his country, at just 22 years of age.

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