The much anticipated UFWC title match between Iran and North Korea has been cancelled, FIFA has confirmed. The friendly match had been due to take place in Tehran on Tuesday 9 October. It was cancelled at the request of Iran coach Carlos Queiroz, with the aim of protecting his injury-hit squad ahead of a crucial World Cup Qualifier against South Korea.

Where does that leave the UFWC? Well, obviously North Korea are still Unofficial Football World Champions, and we won’t have to wait too much longer to see them attempt to defend their title. The Chollima will participate in the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Cup, which kicks off on 24 October.

The VFF Cup is a four-team round robin tournament featuring North Korea, Vietnam, Turkmenistan and an Iran under-23 team. North Korea’s first VFF Cup match is against this Iranian team, but as Iran is not fielding its ‘A’ team, this is not a FIFA ‘A’ match, and therefore is not a UFWC title match. North Korea subsequently play Turkmenistan on 26 October, and this IS a FIFA ‘A’ match, and IS a UFWC title match.

So the next UFWC title match is North Korea vs Turkmenistan, at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, on 26 October. That’s a UFWC rematch, following North Korea’s hard-fought 2-1 win in the AFC Challenge Cup Final in March. There were ‘amazing scenes’ in Nepal as the Chollima came from behind to win the Cup. But the match demonstrated that Turkmenistan will be no pushovers.

Since that defeat in March, Turkmenistan haven’t played any matches, but they have risen from 166th to 125th in FIFA’s world rankings. Still officially classed as an ’emerging’ nation, they have several ’emerging’ stars, including 21-year-old midfielder Arslanmyrat Amanov, and captain Berdy Shamuradov. We’ll be providing a full preview ahead of the match.

If North Korea retain their title, we’ll have another UFWC match to look forward to just two days later, with the champions taking on Vietnam in the last VFF Cup match. But if Turkmenistan win they’ll take the title, and we may have to wait until March 2013 for their next scheduled fixture, against Armenia. That’s all part of the excitement and uncertainty involved with following the UFWC.

So it’s not quite the ‘megaclash’ we had hoped for, but, as anyone who followed the AFC Challenge Cup Final knows, North Korea vs Turkmenistan will not be a match to miss. We’ll be building up to the match here, and, of course, providing full coverage.

Watch this space and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

UFWC T-Shirt Shop

Get your UFWC T-shirts, including mascot, trophy and national teams, at our T-shirt shop

About Paul Brown

Paul is a freelance journalist and author. He created the UFWC in 2003, and subsequently wrote the Unofficial Football World Champions book. He can be found on Twitter @paulbrownUK.

9 thoughts on “Iran vs North Korea UFWC title match cancelled

  1. druryfire

    And just to keep everyone on their toes. Today Vietnam invited Singapore to replace Iran at the VFF Cup. Awaiting response now, but Korea-Singapore might be next title matchup.

  2. schna

    Several tweets claim North Korea won’t play the tournament, which will be actually disputed between Vietnam, Turkmenistan, Laos and an university team from South Korea.

  3. Paul Brown Post author

    @schna We’re aware that the VFF has today posted the following message on its website:
    “This afternoon (10/10), LDBDVN officially received written confirmation VFF Cup 2012 team of 3 guests include: Tel Turkmenistan, Laos Tel and Tel U23 South Korea.”
    So it does look like North Korea will not participate in the VFF Cup. However, we will refrain from posting a UFWC announcement until confirmation is provided by FIFA.

  4. Rune

    The matches have been removed from FIFA’s website. That means the next title match, as for now, will be against one of the other semi-finalists in the EAFF East Asian Cup, arranged in Hong Kong 1-9 December. The schedule has, to my knowledge, not been released, but the other teams are Australia, Chinese Taipei, Guam and Hong Kong.

Comments are closed.