Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup 2010: Holland 2-0 Denmark: Dutch Still the Unofficial World Champions

The Netherlands retained the Unofficial Football World Championship with an easy 2-0 win over Denmark in Group E of the 2010 World Cup.
It was the Oranje's sixteenth defence of the "illustrious title."
The first goal came from a highly fortuitous own goal after Simon Poulsen's wayward header cannoned off Daniel Agger's back and into the bottom corner. The game was then wrapped up on 85 after a brilliant move that put Elia clear, his placed shot was touched onto the post by Thomas Sorenson in the Danish goal only for Dirk Kuyt to hammer home the rebound from less than a yard.

The Danes can count themselves as very unlucky. Their dogged display in the first half frustrated the Dutch to half-chances as they carved out the best efforts on goal. A couple of poor decisions by French referee Stephane Lannoy meant that Nigel De Jong escaped with only one yellow card when he could easily have received red for each of his two horror tackles.
In the second period, the Danes wilted visibly and the early goal seemed to take a real toll on their efforts. The last thing Simon Kjaer and Co. would have wanted to see was Elijero Elia take to the pitch on 67 and his pace and directness cut the Danish defense apart on more than one occasion, the Hamburg flyer playing a decisive part in the killing goal.
The win was part of the story, though, as Holland claimed their sixteenth defence of their Unofficial Football World Championship crown, which makes their current run the second best reign in UWC history.
The Unofficial Football World Championship (UFWC ) goes right back to the first international match between England and Scotland in 1872, and treats each match as if it were a boxing match, the winner becoming the new champion of the world.
Statistically, the UFWC can be traced back to that first match in 1872, but the idea really took hold in 1967.
England had just won the World Cup in 1966, and in their first match after winning the crown they played Scotland at Wembley. A 3-2 defeat ensued...
In 2002, a Scottish fan called into a radio phone-in show with the claim, and asked who were the current World Champions...
The UFWC website, a stato's dream, was born.
Tracing back through over 800 matches across 130 years and every continent was no easy task but, in March 2002 funnily enough, it was decided that the Netherlands were UFWC Champions.
The title has been held by most major European and South American teams, and a whole string of footballing minnows like Ireland, Australia, Israel, Ecuador, and the tiny Dutch Antilles, not to mention Scotland, who have the best record and are the number one rated nation of all time. To see the table click  here .
The title has been contested at World Cup finals and in meaningless friendlies. It has been won by the most celebrated players of all time, and by many unknown and unsung heroes across the globe, and very often they have not realised the great title they hold...
For the most part, the UFWC is an unrecognised title, but FIFA have given it an endorsement of sorts...
"As long as people have fun with football and that it is played in the spirit of respect for all involved, the non-violation of the Laws of the Game and the ethics of sport, FIFA is more than happy!" exclaimed a statement from the FIFA Media Department. "We wish UFWC fans a lot of fun!"
Holland's current run of 16 games unbeaten, stretches all the way back to November 19, 2008, when the Dutch beat Sweden 3-1 in a "friendly" in Amsterdam.
Since then, they have beaten all comers: England, Tunisia, the USA, most recently Denmark and for some funny reason the Scots, twice, who seem intent on bringing their title back home at any cost.
Actually, if you thought the UFWC was the only imaginary football title in the world, you would be wrong. Very wrong!
Jose Nasazzi was the first captain to hold the World Cup aloft. As the Uruguayan captain in 1930, Uruguay's greatest ever footballer, held the famous trophy for all to see.
Since then,  Nasazzi's Baton has been passed on. Run on a similar way to the UFWC, Nasazzi's Baton differs in that the result only considers the first 90 minutes.
Strangely enough, the Dutch are also the current holders, having united the two titles with a win over Norway in August 2002.
There is also the Virtual World Championship which only counts matches in FIFA recognised championships and their qualifying stages. This title was created to circumvent the UFWC by anal retentive fans who did not want to see "small nations" win the title, and as such only full international teams are allowed to take part.
Colombia are the current holders of the VWC, having beaten Paraguay for the title, and will defend it in the Copa America in 2011, having failed to qualify for the World Cup.
The Netherlands take on Japan in five days, with a place in the Last-16 at stake, but so too is the UFWC and a seventeenth title defence. Scotland and Germany are current joint record holders with 20 wins each. For Holland to have a chance of reaching the target set by their illustrious rivals, they will have to, at least, reach the Semi-Finals...