Denmark 1-1 Croatia (Croatia win 3-2 on penalties)
1 July 2018
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod

The Unofficial Football World Championships title has reached the knockout stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. This means the UFWC title will be in play right through to the WC final, where the unofficial and official titles will be unified, and an undisputed champion will be crowned. Denmark took the title into the knockout stage as Unofficial Football World Champions. The first challengers, on Sunday 1 July, were Croatia. As a reminder, extra time and penalties do count for UFWC purposes where they affect the result of a title match. Latest updates can be found below, and you can read our UFWC at the World Cup Group stage round-up here.

This game exploded into life with two goals in the first four minutes, with Mathias Jorgensen scoring for Denmark and Mario Mandzukic equalising for Croatia. But things quickly settled down, and there was little between the two sides, and there were relatively few chances. Extra time ended in high drama as Jorgensen conceded a late penalty, but Kasper Schmeichel saved Luka Modric’s spot kick. Schmeichel saved two more penalties in the shoot-out, but Danijel Subasic saved three to win the match and the UFWC title for Croatia. It was Croatia’s first ever title match victory.

The next UFWC title match is the Croatia v Russia quarter final on 7 July at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi. While Croatia have only just won their first title match, Russia are one of the most successful sides in UFWC history, sitting 5th in the all-time rankings with 41 title match victories. (Point totals have been combined for Russia and the Soviet Union/USSR as they have officially played under different names and are recognised as doing so by FIFA.)

New for 2018,the latest edition of the official UFWC book, Unofficial Football World Champions.
This is the fourth edition of the book that has been published in every World Cup year since 2006. Expanded and updated to include new matches, teams, players and statistics, it’s a complete guide to the UFWC, including all 936 title matches played since 1872, and all 48 unofficial football world champions.
It’s available exclusively from Amazon stores worldwide, priced at £9.99 or $13.95 – click here.

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.