Yesterday in Hong Kong I got a unique chance to watch my first ever football ‘World Cup Final’! With a difference of course… Basically as an alternative to the normal and four yearly World Cup, there is an UNOFFICIAL FOOTBALL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP which happens on an ongoing basis. It runs on a simple system – similar to Boxing – if you beat the current champion you become the winner! It dates back to the first ever international between England and Scotland in 1872. England won that match and they would remain Unofficial Football World Champions until they were beaten. Over the years, the UFWC have worked out a rankings table on their website which has a league table (Scotland currently lead). You get 1 point for a win when you play a World Champions Match and zero for a draw.
As a crazy football fan, I love this competition as an alternative to the FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately until yesterday I never had the chance to see an actual UFWC match. Thanks to Australia drawing with North Korea on Wednesday night, that meant that North Korea remained champions going into yesterday’s match with Hong Kong.
So finally I could attend! I’m currently living out at Ma Wan and headed over to Hong Kong Island for this spectacle.
I was like a kid – all excited – check out the photo above and you’ll see what a ticket to the Unofficial World Cup Final looks like! A collector’s item (at least for me!).
It was taking place at the Hong Kong Stadium near Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. I made my way there with three others for a fantastic day out. Entrance was 80 Hong Kong Dollars (£6.40 UK, $10.30 USD) and well worth it. Hong Kong Stadium is magnificent. Nestled nicely in between two other sports stadiums, steep hills and gaping skyscrapers, this is certainly a venue with cracking views!
If you’ve been to Hong Kong you will know that skyscrapers are as much a part of the city’s culture as the traditional lunchtime meal Dim Sum. You can’t help but appreciate the views everywhere you go in Hong Kong and the area that houses the national stadium here in no different.
But it was all about the football and although Hong Kong kept the North Koreans at bay early on, they succumbed to a 4-0 defeat. Half time score was 3-0. Hong Kong lacked the skill and strength but they had ideas and pace – and a few chances of their own. But clinical finishing and compusure saw the North Koreans maintain their title of Unofficial World Champions.
North Korea looked a good side and worthy of their title as Unofficial World Champions but they still lost out to Australia in their place in the Asian Cup Finals as the Aussies later hammered Taiwan (called Chinese Taipei for political reasons) 8-0!
I met up with a few North Korean fans, an unusual occurance and I spoke at length to one of them to understand why and how they support North Korea. Interesting and perhaps a story for another day on Don’t Stop Living!
You might ask – where is the photo of North Korea lifting the trophy – but there isn’t an actual presentation – it’s just the honour! Well done to North Korea for remaining unofficial world champions and roll on the next UFWC / Unofficial Football World Championships title match.
And while I’m at it – if you know me, you’ll know I come from Northern Ireland – I hope we can win the UFWC again – Northern Ireland are 5 times winners and 29th in the all time rankings. I’m looking forward to attending another UFWC title match someday!
Check out the Unofficial Football World Championships here.
One of my videos from yesterday’s match: