Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Wed 28 March 2007

Beating Georgia Makes Scotland World Champions

Guest writer: Flicktokick

Now I know what you are thinking; Italy are the Official World Champions and you could perhaps claim some spurious right to proclaim yourselves unofficial World Champions by beating them, but simply being top of their qualifying group doesn’t cut the mustard and neither does saying ‘France beat Italy and we beat France’. Of course you're right, but that isn’t the root of Scotland’s claim to the title.

No, Scotland can claim the title based on a system dating back to the very first international match played out between Scotland and England at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground in November 1872. That game ended in a draw, but at Kennington Oval in March of the following year England beat Scotland 4-2 and as the only two international teams of the time, England could naturally be seen as the first Unofficial World Champions.

From that date, following a system akin to boxing, where every game the holder of the title plays is seen as a defence of the crown, the path of the unofficial championship can be charted.

At the conclusion of qualifying for Germany 2006 Uruguay were the incumbents and having failed to qualify, the unofficial title was not up for grabs.

Instead, the title changed hands when Georgia beat Uruguay in a friendly in November 2006, and as a subsequent draw kept the championship in Georgian hands, Craig Beattie’s last gasp winner on Saturday gave Scotland their first claim on the throne since the Law and Baxter inspired triumph forty years ago.

So onto tonight and a chance for Italy to unify the unofficial and official titles for the first time since France managed the feat in 1998. Of course there is the chance that Scotland will retain the crown, we certainly have the track record. The records show that although we are second in number of times we have won the crown (England are one up on that score), Scotland has defended it more successfully than any other.

And you can keep track of who the Unofficial Football World Champions are at any time by visiting

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