Current all-conquering UFWC champions Japan may be on course to set a new record for the most number of consecutive defences of the Unofficial Football World Championships title. There’s still some way to go, but with Japan showing no signs of relinquishing their title, and with some relatively easy fixtures coming up, the opportunity to push for the record is certainly there.
Alberto Zaccheroni’s men have successfully defended the UFWC title 14 times in a row. Only Germany (15 defences, 1996-98), Scotland (20 defences, 1880-88) and record-holders the Netherlands (21 defences, 2008-10) now stand above them in the all-time list. The Japanese have held the title since beating Argentina on 8 October 2010.
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Meanwhile, looking at the UFWC spin-offs, unofficial European champions Greece have now successfully defended their title 13 times in a row. Only England (14 defences, 1891-96), Scotland (20 defences, 1880-88) and way-ahead record holders West Germany (34 defences, 1978-82) stand above them in the all-time list. There is, therefore, a long way to go before Greece catch up with the Germans, but they are on the verge of breaking into the top three – a fine achievement. The Greeks have held the unofficial European title since beating Serbia on 11 August 2010.
Incidentally, the longest runs in both the main UFWC and unofficial European categories ended with defeat for the holders in the World Cup Final. The Netherlands’ record run as UFWC holders ended with defeat to Spain in the 2010 WC final, whilst West Germany’s epic reign as unofficial European champs ended with defeat to Italy in the 1982 WC final.
Japan’s next two fixtures come in November – away to Tajikistan and away to North Korea. Greece are not scheduled to be in action again until 29 February, with a friendly at home to the Czech Republic.
Coincidentally, a win for Japan against Tajikistan on 11 November would see them move level with Greece in the all-time UFWC rankings. Japan’s ten UFWC wins in 15 title matches have seen them reach 19th place in the rankings, which award one point for every win. A win would put Japan 17th, alongside Greece and Chile, and just a point behind Austria and Wales.