The Netherlands’ UFWC win over the USA last week means that we are just two or three title matches away from the World Cup Finals 2010, depending on results. Upcoming fixtures mean there is now a very strong chance that the UFWC title will be contested in South Africa. However, there is still a chance that the UFWC and the WC could remain separate. This is how the fixtures pan out:
The next title match sees the Netherlands take on Mexico on 26 May. Both sides have qualified for the World Cup, so whatever the result, the title remains en route to South Africa.
If the Netherlands beat Mexico, they go on to play Ghana, another WC qualifier. This is Ghana’s last scheduled match before the World Cup, so a Ghana win would see the UFWC title taken to the Finals.
But if the Netherlands win again, they will play Hungary. This is the Netherlands’ final World Cup warm up, so a Dutch win will also see the UFWC contested in South Africa. But Hungary failed to qualify for the Finals, so a Magyar victory would mean the UFWC and the WC will remain apart.
But what if Mexico win on 26 May? They go on to play Italy, another WC qualifier. If Mexico were to retain the title, they would take it to South Africa. If Italy win, they have a final warm-up against Switzerland, who have also qualified. Whoever wins that match, the UFWC title will be contested at World Cup 2010.
So neutral UFWC fans will need to keep a wary eye on Hungary in the build-up to the World Cup. The UFWC title was last contested at a World Cup Finals in 1998. Title holders the Netherlands and Uruguay respectively failed to qualify for the Finals in 2002 and 2006.
Possible UFWC Fixtures
(*=WC qualifier, bold=victory means UFWC will go to WC)
26/05/10 Netherlands* vs Mexico*
01/06/10 Netherlands* vs Ghana*
03/06/10 Italy* vs Mexico*
05/06/10 Switzerland* vs Italy*
05/06/10 Netherlands* vs Hungary