SCOTLAND vs NETHERLANDS, Glasgow, 09/09/09
When these two sides met in a UFWC clash six months ago, the Netherlands brushed Scotland aside 3-0 in Amsterdam. This rematch promises to be a closer affair.
As well as a UFWC title match, the game is a crucial World Cup qualifier – for the Scots, in any case. The Netherlands have already qualified for the tournament in South Africa next summer, but Scotland are still battling to win second place in their qualifying group. Could this extra incentive give the home side the impetus they need to win this UFWC/WCQ double-header?
Scotland, of course, are famously the all-time UFWC champions, having won 86 UFWC title matches – more than any other nation, ahead of the likes of England, Argentina, Russia – and the Netherlands, who have won 38 title matches and are ranked fifth overall.
Current UFWC rankings by title matches won:
1. Scotland 86
2. England 74
3. Argentina 50
4. Russia 41
5. Netherlands 38
But Scotland have not had an easy time of things in UFWC competition in recent years. The Scots last held the title in March 2007, having ended a 40-year drought by beating Georgia, only then to lose out just four days later to official world champions Italy. We’ll take a look at Scotland’s full UFWC history tomorrow.
And while the Netherlands have already qualified for the World Cup, Saturday’s 3-0 demolition of Japan offered little evidence that the team will take it easy on Wednesday.
Good news for the Dutch is that Wesley Sneijder should have recovered from an injury sustained in the Japan match. Scotland should be able to call upon Scott Brown, who was also injured at the weekend, but will be without the suspended James McFadden.
Scotland beat Macedonia 2-0 on Saturday, and the pre-match talk is that Wednesday night’s result will make or break the nation’s qualifying hopes, with much of the Scottish media treating the game like something of a cup final.
So this UFWC title match is getting the pre-match build-up it deserves. Tomorrow we’ll recap Scotland’s long UFWC history, and on Wednesday we’ll look back at a classic UFWC title match between Scotland and the Netherlands from 1938. Then, on Wednesday evening we’ll have all the action from the big match.
But who will win? Make your prediction below.
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