NETHERLANDS vs JAPAN, Enschede, 05/09/09
The next UFWC title match will see current champions the Netherlands take on challengers Japan.
Japan have never held the UFWC title, and therefore do not have a UFWC ranking. The Japanese have played in only three title matches, losing them all, and failing to score a single goal. First up was a 1-0 defeat to Argentina at the 1998 World Cup Finals. Then two friendly matches in 2001 saw Japan lose 5-0 to France, and 1-0 to Spain.
Despite its lack of success, the country is a football hotbed, with 2,000 clubs and over 1 million registered players.
Japan are currently ranked 39th in the world by FIFA, 36 places below the Netherlands.
The “Blue Samurai” are coached by Takeshi Okada, and the captain of the national team is goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki, who plays for J League side Nagoya Grampus Eight.
Japan’s last match was a 2-1 defeat to Australia in June.
Should the Dutch retain the UFWC title, the next match will be against all-time UFWC champions Scotland 4 days later on 9 September. If Japan manage to win the title, the next UFWC match will be against Ghana on the same day.