Costa Rica are the Unofficial Football World Champions after they handed Uruguay a 3-1 defeat in what is being called one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
But hey, hang on. They’re ranked 28th in the World according to FIFA and have just beaten the 7th rank team in the world. That makes no sense right?
Unofficial Football World Championships is a non-official way of deciding the world's best football team, using a knock-out title system similar to what is used in boxing. Results are traced from the first international match to have a winner: England's victory over Scotland in London on 8 March 1873. The title subsequently is assumed by any team beating the holder in a recognised full international, including wins on penalties where the tournament format uses that method of obtaining results.
The idea first came about in 1967 when Scotland had beaten world champions England 3-2 in the process breaking their 19 match unbeaten streak.
Scotland were hailed as “unofficial” World Champions.
It was this very idea that fascinated freelance journalist Paul Brown. He wrote an article in football magazine FourFourTwo and defined the rules. He maintains the championship’s website which keeps track of the progression.
“The 1967 game was probably the first time that the idea of ‘unofficial champions’ was raised. By virtue of beating official champions, England at Wembley, Scotland fans claimed that their team must be unofficial champions.
“It was interesting to wonder which other teams could claim to have been unofficial champions, going right back to the first ever international match in 1872. The Unofficial Football World Championships, or UFWC, was created in 2003, so it's ten years old now.” He said in 2013.
The UFWC works on the boxing model. Beat the champion to be the champion.
“Both Scotland and England are so highly ranked because they were playing international football long before anyone else, so have played more matches.” Brown said
Scotland have won the “title” a record 86 times followed by England (73), Argentina (57), The Netherlands (49) and Russia (41).
Austria were the first non-British team to win it, the United States the first non-European and Chile the first South American.
Dethroned champions Uruguay won it after beating Argentina 3-2 in a World Cup qualifier on October 15 , 2013.
This idea has been branched out and used to determine unofficial continental champions of Europe and South America.
The UFWC is not sanctioned by FIFA and has no official backing. The winner is awarded a virtual trophy - the CW Alcock Cup.
Their official website attracts fans from all around the world.
Champions Costa Rica will “defend” the title when they face Italy on June 20th, 2014 at the Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil.Published 15 Jun 2014, 14:59 IST