NETHERLANDS vs SCOTLAND, Amsterdam, 28/03/09
When Scotland play the Netherlands in Amsterdam on 23 March 2009 there will be more than World Cup Qualification at stake. The match is also a UFWC title match, with the Dutch the current UFWC title holders, and the Scots famously the all-time UFWC champions.
Scotland have won 86 UFWC title matches – more than any other nation, ahead of the likes of England, Argentina, Brazil and Germany. For the Tartan Army, it is confirmation of what they have known for years – that Scotland are the greatest football team in the world.
Scotland top the all-time rankings because of the British home nations’ dominance of early international football in the years that preceded the first World Cup. Detractors say this isn’t fair, as other nations weren’t around to challenge for the title in football’s formative years. But a key attribute of the UFWC is that its lineage goes right back to the very beginning of international football. So Scotland top the rankings on merit, despite the protestations of some rival fans. (And, for the record, none of the UFWC originators are Scottish!)
The idea for an unofficial championship first arose in 1967 when Scottish fans claimed that, in beating official world champions England 3-2 at Wembley, Scotland had become unofficial world champions.
Scotland last held the title in March 2007, having ended a 40-year drought by beating Georgia, only then to lose out to official world champions Italy.
The Netherlands, some say Holland, are the current title holders, having dispossessed Sweden in November, and held off Tunisia last week. The Dutch are also highly-ranked in the UFWC’s all-time table, sitting in fifth place.
Current UFWC rankings by title matches won:
1. Scotland 86
2. England 74
3. Argentina 50
4. Russia 41
5. Netherlands 32
Scotland will take 8,000 fans to Amsterdam for the match. Only one team will be guaranteed to progress from World Cup Qualifier Group 9 to the Finals in South Africa. And only one team with come away with the UFWC title. This WCQ/UFWC double-header should make fascinating viewing.