North Korea have now been Unofficial Football World Champions since November 2011, and it’s starting to look like they could hold the title for a long time to come. There’s currently no sign of them organising friendlies against any of the footballing powerhouses, and therefore it’s possible that their title may not come under real jeopardy until the Asian Cup of 2015.
By that time, the Chollima should have racked up a few more wins against some Asian minnows, and turned their reign as UFWC champions into a record-breaking one. Their run of 12 successful defences already merits a place among the top 10 reigns of all time, as the following list of teams with the most consecutive defences shows:
1. Netherlands, 21 consecutive defences, 2008-10
2. Scotland, 20 consecutive defences, 1880-88
3= Germany, 15 consecutive defences, 1996-98
3= Japan, 15 consecutive defences, 2010-11
5= England, 14 consecutive defences, 1891-96
5= Holland, 14 consecutive defences, 1973-74
5= Argentina, 14 consecutive defences, 1992-93
8. Russia, 13 consecutive defences, 1995-96
9= Holland, 12 consecutive defences, 2002-03
9= North Korea, 12 consecutive defences, 2011-present
Seven of the top ten reigns come from the last 20 years. Two of the other three come from the 19th century. That may be a statistical quirk, or it may indicate that international teams are more consistent in the modern era.
More wins will also push North Korea up the UFWC rankings table. As mentioned in the UFWC Review of the Year 2012, they are currently 20th in the table with ten ranking points from their ten title match wins.
Meanwhile, North Korea midfielder/striker Pak Nam-Chol I (born 1985, and not to be confused with defender Pak-Nam Chol II, another current North Korean international who is three years his namesake’s junior) now has seven UFWC goals to his name. If he continues scoring, and if the Chollima extend their championship reign, he could earn a place on the UFWC’s top goalscorers list alongside some of the greatest players of all time. He plays club football in Thailand, and could play for North Korea in the Thailand King’s Cup later this month.
For the record, the top ten UFWC goalscorers are:
1. Gunnar Nordahl (Sweden), 29 goals in 19 games, 1942-47
2= Hughie Gallacher (Scotland), 20 goals in 15 games, 1925-35
2= Steve Bloomer (England), 20 goals in 17 games, 1895-1907
4. Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), 18 goals in 23 games, 1992-98
5. Gunnar Gren (Sweden), 16 goals in 22 games, 1942-58
6= Anton Schall (Austria), 15 goals in 11 games, 1931-32
6= Pele (Brazil), 15 goals in 14 games, 1957-62
6= Michel Platini (France), 15 goals in 18 games, 1976-85
9= Matthias Sindelar (Austria), 13 goals in 12 games, 1931-32
9= Oliver Bierhoff (Germany), 13 goals in 19 games, 1996-2001