NETHERLANDS vs SCOTLAND, Amsterdam, 28/03/09

Hughie the UFWC mascot‘It doesn’t come any bigger than this,’ said Scotland boss George Burley ahead of his side’s trip to Amsterdam on Saturday.

UFWC fans would have to agree, as the crucial title match sees current champions the Netherlands take on all-time champions Scotland. It’s also a World Cup Qualifier, should the game require any more spice…

Scotland are 9-1 outsiders to win the game with some bookmakers. George Burley has confirmed that he will start with Rangers keeper Allan McGregor in goal ahead of Craig Gordon, currently unable to claim first team football at Sunderland. James McFadden is injured, and Kenny Miller is likely to play as a lone striker, with Scott Brown, Barry Ferguson and Darren Fletcher set to play together in midfield.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk will be without Atletico Madrid defender John Heitinga, but perhaps his biggest problem will be choosing who to leave out from a forward line that could include Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel, and Robin van Persie, with midfield support from the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben.

The match kicks off at 1945 GMT, and will be televised live in the UK on Setanta Sports. Both the Netherlands and Scotland play again on Wednesday night, when the Dutch take on Macedonia and the Scots face Iceland.

See more stats on this fixture here.

Whatever the outcome of the match, it represents a new beginning for the UFWC, following the launch of a new website, and the introduction of a mascot and trophy. New features set to be introduced over the coming weeks will include a regular delve into the UFWC archives to look at some classic matches and hall of fame players that have lit up the tournament’s 137-year history. We’ll also take a look at the various UFWC spin-offs that are being tracked in our forum, including the dreaded UFWC wooden spoon.

For now, as promised, it’s time to reveal the name of our new mascot, picked by UFWC website visitors. And the winning name – as chosen by Chris O – is… Hughie.

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.

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