In another of our classic UFWC title match features, we look back at one of the most unlikely upsets in UFWC history, played out on this day 30 years ago.
CLASSIC UFWC TITLE MATCH:
San Serrife 1-0 Brazil
1 April 1981
Pica Stadium, Bodoni
The Unofficial Football World Championships has seen some shock results over the years, and this 1981 giant-killing act is up there with the best of them. Many football fans hadn’t even heard of the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago of San Serrife before its national side defeated the mighty Brazil. In fact, the country had been on the world football stage since 1922, but this was its first foray into the UFWC competition.
The differences of scale between the two nations was staggering. San Serrife had a population of just 1.8 million – more than a hundred times smaller than that of Brazil.
Brazil, the reigning UFWC champions, lined up with the likes of Zico, Socrates, Oscar, Junior and Batista. San Serrife had no such star names to call upon, but an incredible display of teamwork took them to victory.
It was clear that the Brazilian superstars had entirely underestimated their opposition, with some players openly questioning the Brazilian FA’s decision to take part in the friendly Garamondo Cup tournament. Striker Umbra was dropped from the squad after giving a newspaper interview in which he referred to San Serrife as a ‘lower case’ nation. The San Serrife press reacted with anger, calling the visitors ‘the fools from Brazil’.
Managed by Berhold Baskerville, the San Serrife team was made up entirely of amateur players, all of whom played in the five-team national league. The side was captained by Bodoni United midfielder Arnold Bocklin, a postman by trade, and its most-capped player was goalkeeper Zapf Chancery, a fisherman who kept goal for Adze Allstars.
But on this day the San Serrifean hero was Orla Filop, a 22-year-old spaghetti farmer who played his club football for Port Clarendon. Filop would go on to enjoy a short spell in Germany at Borussia Dortmund.
The goal came in the 64th minute, when a Baker Signet cross bounced around the Brazilian penalty box, eventually falling at the feet of Filop, who drilled the ball past keeper Valdir Peres.
Brazil, who had been woefully inadequate from the kick-off, desperately tried to grab an equaliser, with coach Tele Santana urging his side forward. Zico and Ze Sergio both had long range attempts well saved by Chancery, but the game ended 1-0 to deserved victors San Serrife.
San Serrife’s reign as Unofficial Football World Champions champions was shortlived – they were beaten in their next match by Uruguay. But, while Brazil and the rest of world football attempted to forget about this result, San Serrife continues to celebrate its moment of football glory. The victory of the ‘Fools from Brazil’ is celebrated with a national holiday every 1 April, know in San Serrife as ‘April Fools’ Day’.