Just a month after the World Cup ended, the Unofficial Football World Championships kicks back into gear. The final match, of course, saw Spain beat the Netherlands to win both the WC and UFWC titles. And while the official title is safe for the next four years, the unofficial title is again up for grabs, with Spain hoping to successfully defend their title against Mexico.
This friendly match has been arranged to commemorate 200 years since the start of the war of independence between Mexico and Spain. Now Mexico will face a Spanish footballing revolution, with a talented young team promising to dominate world football for years to come.
The Mexicans only won one game during the World Cup tournament, although the 2-0 victory over a pitiful France was enough to see them through to the second round. There, however, they were beaten 3-1 by Argentina, prompting coach Javier Aguirre to quit.
Mexico still don’t have a permanent coach. For this game only, the Mexican Football Federation has re-appointed Enrique Meza, who had an unhappy time in charge a few years ago. Meza will be replaced by Efrain Flores for the next two games, again on a temporary basis. Hardly an ideal situation when you’re facing the undisputed official and unofficial football world champions.
Spain won’t be at full strength, however. WC final match-winner Andres Iniesta will be rested, while Fernando Torres, who failed to impress at the finals, is injured. Despite Iniesta’s absence, Vicente del Bosque’s squad still contains seven Barcelona players – a fact that has angered the Catalan side. Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Pedro and David Villa will all travel to Mexico just three days before their club side play Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup.
By contrast, the Mexico squad does not contain any players from Guadalajara Chivas, as they are playing in the first leg of the final of the Copa Libertadores. The squad will, however, include new Manchester United signing Javier Hernandez, plus Giovani dos Santos of Tottenham, Carlos Vela of Arsenal, Pablo Barrera of West Ham and Efrain Juarez of Celtic.
Mexico have a pretty pathetic record in the UFWC, having won only one title match, against Czechoslovakia back in 1963. They were famously beaten 2-1 by the lowly Dutch Antilles in the following game. Spain, on the other hand, are ranked 12th in the all-time UFWC rankings, having won 16 title games. They will move up to 11th in the rankings if they beat Mexico.
If Spain are victorious, the next UFWC title match will see them travel to Liechtenstein on 3 September for a European qualifier. If Mexico take the title, they will defend it at home against Chile on 4 September.
So the World Cup may be a distant memory, but the UFWC rolls on. Who will win, Mexico or Spain? Take our poll and post a comment to let us know your views. And check back here for full match coverage.