Sunday, May 27, 2007

But it's been no bed of roses

Being a fan of the quirky sporting statistic, I rather enjoy the concept behind the Unofficial Football World Championships website. The idea is that the first ever association football international, between Scotland and England in 1872, gave the winner the right to call itself World Champion. And, from there on in, that victorious footballing nation continued as World Champs until another country defeated it. That vanquishing nation then took the prize until it, in turn, lost an international match. And so on. And so on. It is a premise similar to boxing where a glove-donning pugilist will retain a world belt until a challenger conquers him in the ring. England became the first sole champions in 1873 – the first international proved a draw – and, with so many early international ties taking place between the home nations, the mantle was shared between England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland until 1931 when Austria hammered the Scots 5-1 in Vienna. Since then countless countries have earned the spurious right to call themselves Unofficial Football World Champions including, since the new millennium, Zimbabwe, Israel, Uruguay and those perennial underachievers Spain. Scotland, by pipping Georgia 2-1 in March became champions but a 2-0 defeat to Italy in Bari saw this brief reign end. Italy are currently official and unofficial champions but face the Faroe Islands in a week for the latest in a huge list of World Finals that stretches back 135 years. I post the Italian flag as tribute.

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Breaks my heart that today was the last day of Serie A. Especially when the Chicago Fire are playing so miserab. FORZA PALERMO!