Sweden vs Norway 1945
Following Japan’s 8-0 win over Tajikistan, we’re taking a look at some of the highest scoring matches in UFWC history, starting with this euphoric post-war win for Sweden.
Sweden 10-0 Norway
21 October 1945
Rasunda Stadium, Solna
Scorers: Nordahl (4), Carlsson (2), Nyberg (2), Persson, Gren
This game was the biggest goal-scoring achievement of a dynamic Swedish UFWC reign. The Swedes had taken the title from Hungary in 1943, before the Second World War finally put a stop to world football. Sweden claimed neutrality during the war, and avoided being invaded. However, neighbouring Denmark and Norway had both been occupied by German forces, effectively cutting Sweden’s trade routes and hampering food and fuel supplies.
After victory in Europe was declared, football and the UFWC resumed in June 1945 with a 2-1 win for Sweden over Denmark. Despite the two-year footballing break, seven of the Swedish side that had played against Hungary in 1943 returned for the match, including Gunnars Nordahl and Gren. The Swedish side was selected by a committee known as the Uttagningskommitten, and was coached by influential former player Putte Kock. Despite the interruption of war, this brilliant team was about to make a major impact on the UFWC.
The match in Solna, in October 1945, was unforgettable. Vincent Persson scored the first goal, in the first minute of his first international appearance for Sweden. Then Gunnar Nordahl hit the first of his four goals. Arne Nyberg and Nils Carlsson, both of whom had scored against the Nazi Germany team in 1942, hit two goals each. Gunnar Gren also got on the scoresheet. It was 4-0 at half-time, 10-0 at full-time, and an almighty victory for the Swedes.
It would be easy to attribute Sweden’s dominance of the UFWC at this time to the war, which undoubtedly had a more profound affect on neighbouring European countries. However, that would do a disservice to a genuinely great team featuring some of international football’s best ever players.
Sweden’s UFWC party was temporarily upset in the next title match, when fellow neutral nation Switzerland won 3-0 in Geneva to take the title. But the Swedes responded with a 7-2 victory in the subsequent return match.
Interestingly, Sweden’s UFWC reign included two instances of simultaneous matches being played against different countries: on 30 September 1945 against Finland and Denmark; and on 15 September 1946 against Finland and Norway. The Swedes won all four games, scoring 20 goals.
This is an edited extract from the book Unofficial Football World Champions, which tells the full story of the UFWC via more than 100 classic matches.