As undisputed official FIFA and unofficial UFWC champions, France are on top of the football world. But next UFWC challengers Germany also have impressive FIFA and UFWC form. Like France, Germany have been undisputed champions on three occasions. They have won two more title matches than France and are ranked 7th in the all-time UFWC rankings. Ahead of the France v Germany match, let’s look back at the challengers’ record in the Unofficial Football World Championships.
Overall, Germany have played 67 title matches, and have won 28 of them, compared to France’s 26 wins. The two sides have met twice before in UFWC competition, in 1977 and 2001, and France won both matches 1-0. France will be favourites, but Germany won’t be pushovers, even if they will be missing Mesut Ozil, who has quit international football due to “racism and disrespect”. Instead he’ll concentrate on club football at Arsenal in the EPL.
Germany’s UFWC history began in June 1929 with a 1-1 draw with Scotland in Berlin. Their first title match win didn’t come until 1941, but it was an emphatic win – 7-0 against Hungary. Helmut Schön and Wilhelm Hahnemann scored two goals each, with Stanislaus Kobierski, captain Paul Janes and future captain Fritz Walter also on the scoresheet.
A famous defeat to Sweden in 1942 infuriated Germany’s Nazi regime. Shortly afterwards the national team was dissolved, and its players were sent to the front line. Fritz Walter was one of the few who survived. Several of his teammates, including August Klingler, lost their lives. Walter subsequently captained the Germans to World Cup victory in 1954. Then at the World Cup in 1958, Germany – still official champions – beat Argentina to become undisputed champions. But that reign was short-lived. They lost to Sweden in the semi finals. Brazil beat Sweden in the final and became the new undisputed champions.
It was a similar story at the 1966 World Cup. Germany (actually West Germany – UFWC records have been combined for Germany and West Germany as they are recognised as being continuations of the same team by FIFA) best the Soviet Union to take the UFWC title into the final, but lost to England.
More glory was to follow, though, in 1974, when West Germany met UFWC champions the Netherlands in the World Cup final. It was Franz Beckenbauer versus Johan Cruyff, with a supporting cast including the likes of Paul Breitner, Johan Neeskens Gerd Muller. Neeskens scored a very early penalty, but Breitner equalised from the spot, and Muller gave Germany a 2-1 win. They were undisputed champions once again.
West Germany were UFWC champions at the 1986 World Cup, but they lost to Argentina in the final, allowing Maradona and company to become undisputed champions. A ten year UFWC drought ended in 1996 at the European Championships final, where Germany beat the Czech Republic. A two year reign as UFWC champs came to an end in March 1998, when they lost to Brazil. Germany briefly recaptured the title in 2000, but lost to England at Euro 2000.
Another long period in the UFWC wilderness followed, but it came to an end in spectacular style at the 2014 World Cup Final, where Mario Goetze’s brilliant goal gave Germany a 1-0 win over Argentina, and once again secured the combined FIFA and UFWC titles. However, Germany lost their next title match, to Argentina in a friendly, and haven’t held the UFWC title since.
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 France v Germany UFWC title match will be played in Munich on 6 September. The departure of Mesut Ozil may allow for the return of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane, who was surprisingly left out of the World Cup squad despite topping the EPL table with his club. Mario Gomez had also announced his retirement from international football. France will undoubtedly be favourites, but Germany will want to put a disappointing World Cup behind them.