Following the UFWC at the World Cup

Jonny Blair (2nd from right) at the World Cup in Brazil

During the past month or so, over the course of the World Cup, the UFWC trophy has changed hands four times. Along the way I’ve managed to watch the drama unfold from three different continents as a nomadic football fan. Starting off in Hong Kong, where I watched the World Cup get underway, I then flew to London for the first weekend of the World Cup before watching the rest of it in South America. The adventure began in the first weekend of the World Cup, when Uruguay’s surprise defeat to Costa Rica gave the Ticos the UFWC title, which they managed to take all the way to the quarter finals.

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Germany 1-0 Argentina, FIFA and UFWC titles unified

Deutschland by Filipe Castilhos

A wonderful goal by wunderkind Mario Goetze secured Germany their fourth World Cup title. In defeating Argentina, the Germans also took the UFWC title and became Unofficial Football World Champions. Having unified the FIFA and UFWC titles, Germany can claim to be the ‘undisputed’ champions. This was the fourth successive UFWC title match to go to extra time, but unlike the previous three it didn’t go to penalties. Substitute Goetze’s 113th minute strike was all that was required to win the game, as a fantastic World Cup came to an end.

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Netherlands 0-0 Argentina (Arg win 4-2 on pens)

Argentina fan by Ben Tavener

Another 0-0 draw after extra-time and another penalty shoot-out, but a different result as the Netherlands lost the UFWC title and crashed out of the World Cup, with Argentina becoming the new Unofficial Football World Champions and claiming a place in the World Cup Final. Goalkeeper Sergio Romero was the hero, saving shoot-out kicks from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder to give his side victory. Argentina will play Germany on Sunday with the official FIFA and unofficial UFWC titles both at stake.

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Netherlands 0-0 Costa Rica (Neth win 4-3 on pens)

Orange Face by Filipe Castilhos

The Netherlands are the new Unofficial Football World Champions, and have booked their place in the World Cup semi finals after a remarkable penalty shoot-out win over Costa Rica in this epic quarter final. The Dutch had edged things over 90 minutes, but both sides had chances to win the game in a brilliantly entertaining period of extra-time. Just as the match was about to go to penalties, Dutch coach Louis van Gaal substituted goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, replacing him with Tim Krul, who had previously saved just two out of 24 penalties for his club Newcastle United. But the substitution turned out to be a master-stroke, as Krul saved two of the kicks, giving his side a 4-3 win.

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Costa Rica 1-1 Greece (Costa Rica win 5-3 on pens)

Costa Rica flag by Global Panorama

UFWC champions Costa Rica squeezed past Greece into the World Cup quarter finals after a penalty shoot-out settled this long, draining match. Greece had grabbed an injury time equaliser to put the match into extra time, with Costa Rica reduced to ten men. But goalkeeper Keylor Navas ended up being the hero for Los Ticos, saving brilliantly at the end of extra time, them saving the decisive penalty in the shoot-out to put his team through. Few pundits had reckoned on either side reaching the knock-out stages, never mind both.

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