First of all, if you’re new to the UFWC, what on Earth is it about? Basically it’s an alternative way of working out the best team in the world. It works in a continuous boxing-style title match system, where winners of title matches become title holders and champions, and move up the rankings. The UFWC goes right back to the very first international match in 1872, 58 years before the first World Cup. You can find a lot more information in our Beginner’s Guide to the UFWC.
The current Unofficial Football World Champions are Japan. The Japanese reign began last October with a 1-0 win over previous champions Argentina. Japan has now gone 13 games unbeaten as UFWC champions, winning 8 title matches and drawing five, and scoring 20 goals along the way. If they can avoid defeat in the next title match next week they will have been champions for a full 12 months. You can find a full recap of Japan’s run as UFWC champs here: Japan: 13 games, 20 goals, 11 months as UFWC champions.
The UFWC also operates an all-time ranking system, in which teams are awarded one point for each title match win. No points are awarded for a draw. Japan had never won a title match before last October, but since then the team’s eight UFWC title match wins translate to eight UFWC ranking points. This means that, having been completely unranked a year ago, Japan has soared into the top 20 UFWC rankings, standing level on points with Colombia and Romania.
However, perhaps surprisingly, the team at tops the all-time rankings is Scotland, followed by England in second place. This is largely because those two nations dominated international football in the years that preceded the first World Cup. Argentina are third, followed by the Netherlands and Russia. You can see the full list at the UFWC Rankings Table.
The next UFWC title match, next Friday 7 October, sees champions Japan take on challengers Vietnam in Kobe. Vietnam have never competed in the UFWC before, and have only played Japan once – during the group stage of the 2007 Asian Cup, when Japan won 4-1.
Vietnam, coached by German Falko Götz, has played four matches so far this year, all World Cup qualifiers. In the first round, the Vietnamese thrashed Macau home and away, 6-0 and 7-1 respectively, winning 13-1 on aggregate. In the next round, Vietnam lost to Qatar 3-0 in the first leg, improved to win the second leg 2-1, but overall losing 4-2 on aggregate and being eliminated from the qualifying process. You can find out much more about the UFWC challengers here: Vietnam: new challengers for Japan’s UFWC crown.
Elsewhere on the website in recent weeks we’ve brought you news about the official UFWC book, which is available in both English and Japanese (Read all about it: get the official UFWC book), and about how to create your own UFWC T-shirt, available in Hughie the Mascot, UFWC Trophy and Japan Champions designs.