Sweden 3-0 Finland

Sweden UFWC TrophySweden 3-0 Finland
26 January 2013
King’s Cup Final
700th Anniversary Stadium, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Scorers: Hysén, Quaison, Svensson

Unofficial Football World Champions Sweden defeated neighbours Finland to retain the UFWC title, and win the 2013 King’s Cup. A comfortable 3-0 win improved Sweden’s record as one of the most successful nations in UFWC history, and set up an exciting forthcoming title match against Argentina.

Sweden coach Erik Hamrén had said that his team would not get carried away after taking the title from former champions North Korea on Wednesday, although he admitted he was “pretty damn happy” to be an unofficial world champion. His team would try to defend the title against Finland, he said. And they succeeded.

In addition to being a UFWC title match, this was the final of the King’s Cup, with two nations that share a border in Northern Europe playing in South East Asia – at the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chaing Mai (in front of a tiny crowd). Hosts Thailand had played out a 2-2 draw with North Korea to share third place directly before this game. Kick-off in the final was delayed by 15 minutes due to the third-place match overrunning – and due to the fact that players and spectators were subjected to a very long pre-match speech.

Sweden lined up with Tobias Hysén leading the line, supported by Wednesday’s goalscorer Erton Fejzullahu. UFWC veteran Daniel Majstorovic again marshalled the defence. Mixu Paatelainen’s Finland team paired the familiar face of Mikael Forssel up front alongside Riku Riski. The experienced Teemu Tainio played in the heart of the Finnish midfield.

Fejzullahu powered an early header just wide for Sweden, but it was Finland who carved out the best early chance, only for Mika Ojala to drive his shot straight at Swedish keeper Pär Hansson – who had this week joked that he would boast about being world champion for a long time to come.

Sweden broke the deadlock after an impressive passage of play, which started with Jiloan Hamad having a shot parried by Lukas Hradecky. Finland failed to clear the ball, and Sweden eventually worked it out to the left and Erdin Demir, who beat his man and whipped in an excellent cross. Tobias Hysén was unmarked on the edge of the six yard box, and he coolly nodded the ball into the bottom corner of the net. 1-0 to Sweden with 23 minutes on the clock.

Hysén almost scored again, but his drive was saved by Hradecky. Then Finland enjoyed a period of possession, creating half chances for Riski and Forssel, neither of whom could score. Sweden led at half-time.

The second half saw Finland again have plenty of possession. Forsell went close a couple of times, and substitute Sebastian Mannström tried a long-range lob that sailed just over the Swedish crossbar. However, Sweden never looked uncomfortable, and a quick break caught their opponents off-guard, with sub Robin Quaison slipping the ball home from the edge of the penalty area to make the score 2-0 with 72 minutes played.

Finland refused to give up, and both sides had chances, but Sweden finally killed the game off in the 90th minute. Another quick break saw sub Christoffer Nyman race away from the defence and square the ball to Anders Svensson, who easily scored Sweden’s third. 3-0, and there was barely time to restart before the ref blew the final whistle.

The win was Sweden’s 28th in UFWC history. That remarkable record puts them in 7th place on the all-time rankings table, clear of Italy and Germany, and only one win behind the mighty Brazil.

Sweden’s next match is a home friendly against Lionel Messi and Argentina (3rd in the UFWC rankings) on 6 February. Following that they have another home game, against the Republic of Ireland.

We’ll bring you reaction to today’s game and previews of the next one over the next few days. Watch this space and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates. If you’re new to the UFWC, you might want to check out the official UFWC book. And Sweden fans might be interested to know that Sweden trophy and mascot T-shirts, plus many others, are available from the UFWC T-shirt store.

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About Paul Brown

Paul is a freelance journalist and author. He created the UFWC in 2003, and subsequently wrote the Unofficial Football World Champions book. He can be found on Twitter @paulbrownUK.

19 thoughts on “Sweden 3-0 Finland

  1. Kevin

    Personal swipes at your readers seem an unlikely way to improve the credibility of the project when it is being questioned.

  2. schna

    Since these matches aren’t listed as ‘A’ matches by FIFA I don’t recognize them as UFWC ones.

  3. Crazy Tom

    How was it decided that the UFWC title could change hands as a result of a penalty shootout? I know it’s always been that way in the UFWC rules, but it seems a bit illogical, given that under the Laws of the Game the match is drawn and kicks from the penalty mark are not part of the match.

  4. druryfire

    Oh come on gents, before kickoff the games were on FIFA, during the match they were practially taken off, it’s all mainly because no one reckons Sweden or Finland would use an A team, but look at Sweden over the years, they use A team for every winter tour.

    Paul’s doing a good job, maybe had a swipe at a few, who in turn have swiped at himself.

    Sweden new champions works for me.

  5. Hamish

    It seems to me that FIFA is being inconsistent, if the Kings Cup matches are not “A” internationals because Sweden (and others?) used domestic league sides, then why are Australia’s recent EAFF matches (including the UFWC match against (North Korea) and the South Korea friendly still shown as “A” matches. In these matches Australia used a team without its European based stars, as it does regularly. A very similar type of team to Sweden’s Kings Cup team in fact. . This needs clarity, not just because of the confusion for the UFWC but because “A” internationals count for FIFA rankings, which are used for world cup seedings etc. If FIFA can’t gets its act together than the UWFC needs to set its own criteria.

  6. Kevin

    If the UFWC applies its own criteria, it cannot claim any credibility beyond the opinion of those who set those criteria. Matches that are cancelled or abandoned might also be listed as FIFA A internationals in advance: what matters is the classification of the result.

    As to Hamish’s point, it is not a matter of the players selected: it is the designation given to the match. Nobody would suggest that the England team that played Sweden in November was the first choice XI: nobody can doubt that it was listed as a full international. Status of matches is a matter of record, not an opinion on the selection. Dead rubbers in tournaments often see effectively second choice teams used, but no-one would doubt that World Cup matches are full internationals.

    To Paul: if UFWC are to accept the ranking given by each FA, rather than FIFA, then you would have to demonstrate that the North Korean FA consider this to be a full A international. Do you have a source for that?

  7. Roberto

    Since these matches aren’t listed as ‘A’ matches by FIFA I don’t recognize them as UFWC ones.

  8. Delzepich

    My dear supporters of UFWC,

    I am a bit sad that the dispute here is getting quite serious…
    Please remember, it is an unofficial(!) world cup and it’s basically about having some fun with football, results, statistics etc.
    And above all: Paul is doing a tremendous job offering all the facts and providing the detailed coverage of each UFWC title match.
    So, please don’t be too serious and strict with the rules and regulations (and I am saying this as a German and Germans are well known of taking many rules too serious…!)

    So, what happened?:

    1.) There has been a match between North Korea and Sweden being listed as FIFA ‘A’ match before, but not after the event.

    2.) The rules of the UFWC indirectly include the option to recognize such a match as match being official enough to count as UFWC title match if the national associations involved consider the match as one of the national team’s “A” matches.
    We can successfully check this on the Swedish web page (Finnish as well for their match). However, it is a bit unlucky that North Korea is involved and we can hardly check their opinion about the match.

    3.) FIFA is not reliable at all in categorizing a match as “A” match.
    This is the only annoying point and – in my opinion- the source of the discussions (feels always good to blame FIFA for all evil :-) ). We don’t know the reasons for the FIFA decision.
    Some one mentioned the recent EAFF matches of Australia without their top players from Europe (which might have helpd North Korea to stay UWFC champions).
    Germany will be on tour in May/June in Northern America playing Ecuador and USA. Is is already decided that the German team won’t include the players from Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and no Miro Klose. I am quite sure, that the matches will count as FIFA “A”-Matches…

    4.) I could imagine that a few of us are a bit fed up with North Korea as unofficial champion with the prespective that it might stay like it is now until the AFC Cup 2015. This might contribute to the debate.

    5.) See rules of UFWC, Number 5: ” In the result of a dispute, the decision of the UFWC is final. So there.”

    Summary: the situation is just not clear enough to make everyone happy.
    Being strict, I would stay with North Korea as title holder, but only because it seems easier to stay with the official FIFA decisions. However, I don’t understand and like their decisions.
    On the other hand, I would like to stay with Sweden hoping for a title match for Germany in the WC qualifier later this year.

    In the end, I will stay with Paul’s decision as he is the UFWC-Master!

    Maybe, there is one more point to think about. Those of you who really fancy following football matches of the weirdest competitions:

    Follow the “official” unofficial WC with Sweden as champions AND the “unofficial” unoffical WC with North Korea.
    And maybe in a few years time we can all meet again in the web and celebrate the re-unification of the OUFWC and UUFWC.
    That’s what I will do!!!

    Schoene Gruesse, I like UFWC!

    Delzepich

  9. Crazy Tom

    Well said, Delzepich.

    If FIFA were completely consistent, reliable, and transparent in their match classification, it might make sense to defer to them, but of course this isn’t the case; it’s FIFA after all. I’m happy with the reasoning behind the decision to count the King’s Cup matches in the UFWC. However, I think the clearest explanations of this reasoning have been in the comments and forum threads rather than in the main articles, and I can’t help wondering if that has contributed to the confusion.

    We should also remember that football (and, in a sense, the UFWC) existed before FIFA, and will continue to exist even if FIFA folds tomorrow. This may be another reason not to treat FIFA’s classifications as sacrosanct.

    Nevertheless, I will also try to pay some attention to the “UUFWC”, not so much because of the match classification issue as because of my own (nonstandard) preference for not counting penalty shootouts. Either way, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the OUFWC and UUFWC to reunify.

    With Sweden having World Cup qualifying matches to play (not to mention that friendly against Argentina), it now seems likely (though of course not certain!) that the (O)UFWC will be contested at the World Cup in 2014. For the UUFWC, this now seems as unlikely as it did before we knew about the King’s Cup. But imagine the excitement if an Asian team (Japan, maybe?) should win the UFWC at the World Cup and then meet North Korea at the 2015 Asian Cup.

  10. Paul Brown Post author

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the further comments here, at the forum, via Twitter and via email. (@Kevin I did take the time to send you quite a lengthy response via email.) I’ve been reluctant to go into too much detail on the public website, for reasons outlined below, but I understand that some of you would like further clarification regarding the recent King’s Cup matches, so I want to make the following points:

    ***

    1. The decision to allow the King’s Cup matches to stand as UFWC title matches is entirely in accordance with the longstanding UFWC rules, which make no requirement for matches to be recognised by FIFA or listed on the FIFA database/website. It is incorrect to state that the UFWC has “ignored its own rules” or acted “on the whim” of an individual etc.

    UFWC rule 2 states: “A UFWC title match is any international ‘A’ match involving the current UFWC title-holder. According to FIFA: ‘An international ‘A’ match shall be a match that has been arranged between two national A associations affiliated to the Federation and for which both Associations field their first national representative team.’ This includes most friendly matches.”

    Both Sweden vs North Korea and Sweden vs Finland met FIFA’s definition of international ‘A’ matches (despite domestic-based teams). The only reason they are not recognised by FIFA as ‘A’ matches is due to an organisational failure that did not involve the participating teams.

    2. The reason a full explanation hasn’t been posted in a main article on the website is simple – the vast majority of UFWC readers / followers do not care about complicated debates over FIFA/AFC classifications. It was stated in the main articles that there was some controversy over the fixtures, but that the UFWC rules had been correctly applied and that the fixtures would stand as title matches. (A brief update has subsequently been added to that statement.)

    As has been pointed out by others, the UFWC is unofficial. As it says at the bottom of every page on the website “The UFWC is not affiliated with FIFA” etc. I’m not sure how much “credibility” an unofficial tournament can claim, but certainly integrity is important. Hopefully point 1 demonstrates that the recent decision was made in accordance with the UFWC rules, therefore maintaining integrity.

    But what seems to have been lost in these discussions is the fact that the UFWC is meant to be FUN. Of course the rules should be correctly applied. However, we can’t let arguments spoil the fun for the thousands who just want to watch the football.

    3. The accusation of a “personal swipe” made by me as author of the above article is, I think, very unfair. This was the sentence referred to: “Angry emailers, FIFA complainers and pedantic Wikipedia-ists will be pleased to note that both matches are currently listed as FIFA ‘A’ matches…” This was intended to be a light-hearted response to recent correspondents, with the implication being that we will all be relieved that there should be no controversy about the next fixtures. However, as offence has apparently been taken I have removed the sentence from the article and wholeheartedly apologise.

    ***

    In summary, if you can accept that:
    -There is no requirement in the UFWC rules for title matches to be FIFA-recognised or listed on the FIFA database/website.
    -Sweden vs North Korea and Sweden vs Finland were ‘A’ internationals, and would have been recognised as such by FIFA but for an organisational error.
    then hopefully you can agree that the fixtures should stand as UFWC title matches, and we can get on with enjoying the football.
    If you don’t agree, then I’m sorry about that and I respect your opinion, but please accept that the decision was made with best and fair intentions.

    Thanks all,

    Paul
    UFWC Editor

    PS. I’ll leave these comments open, but I’d rather not debate the issue further. Unfortunately there have been a small number of abusive messages received, and I would rather not encourage any further contact with those individuals.

  11. Tom

    This much heat over an Unofficial Football World Championship. Some people are just ridiculous.

    Keep up the good work, big fan of the site!

  12. Rune

    @Paul Brown
    I’m sorry to hear you’ve received abusive messages. Really, what is wrong with people? I hope it doesn’t hurt your enthusiasm for the site and the project, because we are thousands who find great pleasure in what is largely a one man show. I check the site daily, and there really is nothing in football, or even sports in general (which again means almost “in life itself”), that gives me such joy as a title match in the UFWC.

  13. January First-of-May

    If I’m reading the results correctly, the first time in UFWC history when the reigning champions lost in a penalty shootout was Netherlands 1:1 Brazil at the World Cup semi-finals in 1998; is anyone willing to provide an alternate UFWC timeline from 1998 on? This appears to be the only time this happened up to 2012, however, so if the two lines had united since (which they probably did) here’s your reason for diverging them again with North Korea (compare Nasazzi’s Baton, which not only doesn’t count penalties but doesn’t count extra time either).
    And then there’s the infamous debacle of Nigeria 0:3 Romania in 2005 – something so ridiculous I don’t know how it was ever declared an official match. I wonder how would that change the UFWC timeline!

  14. January First-of-May

    (update: if I didn’t miss anything, the two lines unite on 21/08/2002; there’s almost a unification on 29/06/2000 but that match was also won on penalties)

  15. netzakh

    @Paul Brown
    I had to mark the Wikipedia article about UFWC as OR:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unofficial_Football_World_Championships

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Unofficial_Football_World_Championships#Original_Research

    (as well as adding a non-recognition reference in

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Unofficial_Football_World_Championships

    but this is minor, and a similar reference existed for the 1995 game).

    Since UFWC is supposed to be *fun*, I decided to stop challenging Paul Brown’s authority as to the “official” path of UFWC, so let’s look forward to Sweden vs Argentina!

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