New Unofficial Football World Champions Argentina have been awarded the UFWC trophy – the CW Alcock Cup. Or, at least, they’ve been sent a picture of it. As followers of the UFWC will know, the CW Alcock Cup – named after the English FA secretary who organised the first official international football match – only exists in virtual form here on the interweb.
But the UFWC has written to the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino to advise them of their nation’s triumph. We’ve written to them in English, because our Spanish is really bad. Argentina fans – please feel free to contact the Asociación in Spanish to let them know about their UFWC title.
Tuesday’s victory was Argentina’s 51st UFWC title match win. Placed third in the all-time rankings, they’re the highest-ranked non-British side in the competition, with only Scotland and England sitting above them in the table. This reign offer the chance to close the gap – although they have some way to go to catch second-placed England, who have won 74 title matches.
Argentina’s ranking position is remarkable considering they didn’t play a UFWC match until 1955 – some 83 years after Scotland and England kicked the competition off. Argentina won that first match – 5-3 against Paraguay, courtesy of a four-goal performance from the great Rudolfo Micheli. They went on to dominate the UFWC – alongside Brazil – for the next five or six years.
In 1978, Argentina beat UFWC title holders the Netherlands in the World Cup Final to win both official and unofficial titles. The country’s next period of UFWC dominance ran through 1992/3. Interestingly, this was achieved without Diego Maradona, who was serving a 15-month drugs ban at the time. Instead, the 16-match unbeaten run was led by Gabriel Batistuta – one of the greatest goalscorers in UFWC history, hitting 18 goals in 23 UFWC appearances.
Argentina’s last run as UFWC champions happened more than ten years ago. They beat Brazil to take the title in April 1998, and went on an eight-game run, only to lose out to the Netherlands during the World Cup tournament in France. Their last UFWC appearance before Tuesday was another defeat to the Netherlands, in February 2003.
Argentina’s first UFWC title defence of this reign will see them make a long trip to Tokyo to play Japan. During their last reign, in 1998, Argentina beat Japan 1-0. That was Japan’s first ever UFWC title match. They’ve since played four more, and have lost all of them.
We’ll be building up to Japan vs Argentina over the next few weeks. We’ll be celebrating Argentina’s return as champions with a look back at some classic UFWC title matches they’ve been involved in. And there’ll be some new Argentina UFWC T-shirts appearing in our shop within the next few days – including one featuring our mascot Hughie wearing the kit of La Albiceleste. You can keep up to date by following us on Twitter or joining us on Facebook.