Argentina 1-0 Chile
23 March 2017
Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
World Cup qualifier
Scorer: Messi (pen)
Argentina regained the UFWC title for the first time in almost two years courtesy of a first-half Lionel Messi penalty in this narrow World Cup qualifier win over Chile. It was Argentina’s 62nd UFWC title match win. Only England and Scotland (due to their dominance of early international football) have won more. Argentina must now defend their title as Unofficial Football World Champions against Bolivia in La Paz.
Both Argentina and Chile played with attacking line-ups, with Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria supporting Gonzalo Higuain up front for Edgardo Bauza’s Argentina, and Alexis Sanchez declaring himself fit to play alongside Eduardo Vargas and Jose Fuenzalida for Juan Antonio Pizzi – although the visitors were missing the suspended Arturo Vidal.
Messi sent his penalty kick past Chile keeper Claudio Bravo in the 16th minute, after Di Maria had been fouled by Fuenzalida in the box. Chile had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half, and saw Alexis Sanchez hit the bar in the second. But Argentina held out to gain a hard-fought win.
The win sees Argentina move up to third in the CONMEBOL WC qualifying table, behind Uruguay and top-placed Brazil, while Chile drop to sixth. The top four teams out of ten qualify automatically, with a fifth going into an intercontinental play-off.
The next UFWC title match is another WC qualifier, on Tuesday, 28 March, at the Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz. Bolivia are currently second bottom of the CONMEBOL WC qualifying group. They have played in 14 previous UFWC title matches, and have won five of them. Their last UFWC win was back in 1994, when they beat Colombia. Their last UFWC match, in 2013, saw them draw 1-1 in Laz Paz – against Argentina.
The Bolivia v Argentina match kicks off at 16:00 local time, which is 21:00 British Summer Time. The match will be streamed live and free at Bet365. (You must have a funded sports account or have placed a bet within the last 24 hours in order to view the live stream. Get more info here.)
We’ll have a report here after the match. In the meantime, if you’re new to the Unofficial Football World Championships you can find out all about the UFWC here. And you can keep up to date with all things UFWC by following us on Twitter or Facebook.