When France beat Croatia in the World Cup Final this summer Les Bleus became the undisputed official FIFA and unofficial UFWC football world champions. It was France’s 26th UFWC title match win, and it moved them into the all-time UFWC ranking top 10. And it was their third “undisputed” title win – a feat only Brazil, Germany and Italy have matched. France’s long UFWC history goes back to 1927. As they begin their latest title reign, let’s look back at that history.
France’s first UFWC title match was against England in May 1927. They were thrashed 6-0, with Dixie Dean among the England scorers. There followed a long gap until their next title match, against Scotland in 1949. This was another defeat, but only 2-0 this time. 12 years later, in 1961, France drew 1-1 with UFWC champions Spain. Then, at the 1966 World Cup, they drew 3-3 with the Soviet Union.
Finally, in 1969, France became Unofficial Football World Champions when they beat Sweden 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier. The French team was captained by Jean Djorkaeff, father of World Cup winner Youri. Jean scored from the penalty spot, and Jean-Claude Bras got the other two goals. France drew with Romania then beat Bulgaria, but lost the title in early 1970 to Switzerland.
France’s next UFWC win came in 1977, when they beat official world champions West Germany. (France had failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup.) Oliver Rouyer scored the only goal of the game in Paris. But France lost the UFWC title in their very next game to the Republic of Ireland. For more up to date fixtures see football live scores.
During the early 1980s, France had an excellent side led by Michel Platini. They dominated the 1984 European Championships, winning four UFWC title matches, including the Euro final against Spain. Platini and Bruno Bellone scored in a 2-0 win.
France held the UFWC title until May 1985, when they lost to Bulgaria. There was then a long wait of 11 years until their next title match, at Euro 96, where they lost on penalties to the Czech Republic. But glory would follow two years later.
Brazil took the UFWC title into the 1998 World Cup Final, but it was hosts France who emerged as combined and undisputed official and unofficial champions. Zinedine Zidane scored twice in the first half, heading home corner kicks from both flanks, and Manu Petit scored right at the end to make the final score 3-0.
France lost the UFWC title to Russia in 1999, but regained it, while still official champions, at the Euro 2000 final when they beat Italy to unify the UFWC, FIFA and UEFA titles. After Euro 2000, France held the title until March 2001, when they lost to Spain. There would be not further UFWC wins until 15 July 2018, in Moscow, when Griezmann, Pogba and Mbappe added to a Mandzukic own goal to give France a 4-2 win over Croatia.
Didier Deschamps captained his country to the victories in 1998 and 2000, and was manager in 2018, so has been involved in all three undisputed wins. The list of undisputed champions is as follows:
Undisputed UFWC and WC champions:
Italy 1939, 1982, 2007
Germany 1958*, 1974*, 2014
Brazil 1958, 1998, 1998**
Argentina 1978, 1986
France 1998, 2000, 2018
*As West Germany
**Brazil lost and regained the undisputed title in 1998
The next UFWC title match is France v Germany on 6 September. The two sides have met twice in UFWC competition, in 1977 and 2001, and France won both matches 1-0. As undisputed world champions they will undoubtedly be favourites in this latest match. You can follow the betting at 1xbet livescore.
Germany, of course, also have impressive UFWC form. They have won two more title matches than France – 28 – and are ranked 7th. And they have also been undisputed champions on three occasions. Join us tomorrow for a look back at the challengers’ record in the Unofficial Football World Championships – Germany: a UFWC history.
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.