The Netherlands Antilles (also known as the Dutch Antilles) are a small collection of islands in the Caribbean Sea, with a total population of just under 200,000. The small population means that they rarely make an impact in the grand scheme of things. However, that is not true in UFWC circles, because for a brief period in the 60s they were the unofficial champions of the world.
On March 24th 1963, they faced then-champions Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, in a match which they were thoroughly expected to lose. However in what is argubally the greatest upset in UFWC history, they won 2-1 to claim the trophy. Sadly they did lose the title in their first attempted defence against Costa Rica four days later, but that doesn’t take away from the great accomplishment, as they became the smallest nation to ever hold the UFWC title.
So why are we bringing this up now? Because they will never have the opportunity to repeat the feat again; not in their current form, at least. On October 10th this year, the Netherlands Antilles are scheduled to be dissolved, meaning that the individual islands will go their separate ways to either join up with other nations or become single entities.
So what does that mean for the UFWC and who will officially be credited with the victory? A few months ago I contacted FIFA and the Netherlands Antilles FA to find the answer (the details of which you can find here in our forum). In the end, I discovered that the island of Curacao will be credited with all of the Netherlands Antilles’ records.
But that doesn’t change what was accomplished by the Netherlands Antilles, so even though the name may change in the rankings, it will still be the Dutch Antilles who played the match, and will be credited as such.
Eventually someone may overthrow the Netherlands Antilles as the smallest nation to claim the title, it may even be Curacao, their spiritual successors. But even if that does happen, and even though the Dutch Antilles in its current incarnation will be gone in less than three months, they will live on in the UFWC, and the hearts of its followers.