Italy 2-0 Scotland Bari, 28/03/07

Luca Toni (12, 70)

Italy are the undisputed official and unofficial football world champions! Two goals from man-of-the-match Luca Toni ended Scotland’s short but sweet tenure as UFWC title holders in this intriguing Euro Qualifier and FIFA/UFWC ‘unification match’.

38,000 fans, including 6,000 Scots, packed Bari’s Stadio San Nicola, and they saw Italy dominate the early stages. Near-misses from Marco Materazzi and Toni served as warnings to the Scots, and it was no great suprise when, in the 12th minute, Toni headed Massimo Oddo’s free kick past Craig Gordon. Italy could have been expected to run riot from that point, but Scotland immediately improved, putting together some nice passing moves, and creating a number of half-chances, the best of which fell to lone striker Kenny Miller. But Scotland failed to score, and Italy took advantage.

In the second half Hearts keeper Gordon kept his country in the game with a couple of brilliant saves from Antonio Di Natale. But Italy kept up the pressure, and were rewarded in the 70th minute when Toni headed home a Mauro Camoranesi cross. There was no way back for Scotland.

The result moved Italy to fourth spot in Euro Qualifying Group B, two points behind France, Scotland, and Ukraine, who top the group based on head-to-head results. Italy’s next match is a Euro qualifier against the Faroe Islands in June.

This is the third time Italy have held the title of ‘Undisputed Football World Champions’ – holding both the official World Cup and unofficial UFWC title simultaneously – more than any other nation. The Italians were the first side to win the undisputed title, back in 1939. Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and France have all been undisputed football world champions twice, and Uruguay and England have both held the honour once.

Disappointed members of the Tartan Army can seek some solace from the fact that their side remains the all-time Unofficial Football World Champions, having won some 61 more title matches than the Italians.

Italy: Buffon (Juventus), Oddo (Milan), Cannavaro (Real Madrid), Materazzi (Internazionale), Zambrotta (Barcelona), Gattuso (Milan), De Rossi (Roma); Camoranesi (Juventus), Perrotta (Roma), Di Natale (Udinese), Toni (Fiorentina). Substitutes used: Del Piero (Juventus), Pirlo (Milan), Quagliarella (Sampdoria).

Scotland: Gordon (Hearts), Alexander (Preston), McManus (Celtic), Weir (Rangers), Naysmith (Everton), Teale (Derby), Brown (Hibernian), Ferguson (Rangers), Hartley (Celtic), McCulloch (Wigan), Miller (Celtic). Substitutes used: Maloney (Celtic), Boyd (Rangers), Beattie (Celtic).

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.