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March 28, 2007

Official World Champions vs Unofficial World Champions

Italychamps We all know that Italy won the 2006 World Cup, but did you know that in tonight's match against Scotland, Italy are playing the Unofficial World Champions?

It is quite a simple premise. When there were the first ever international football matches, only England and Scotland had teams, and so whoever won was unofficially the world champions at the time. You can then trace who held the title through over a hundred years of friendlies and competitive matches, with whoever beats the reigning unofficial world champions claiming the title.

Saturday's 89th minute winner against Georgia handed the crown back to Scotland. England last claimed the title with their 1-0 win over Germany in Euro2000, but immediately ceded it to Romania in the next match thanks to Phil Neville's clumsy out-stretched leg.

Scotland and England are in fact the two most successful teams ever in the unofficial world championship, but that is helped by the fact that from 1872 to 1931 the title never left the British Isles.

Those were the days, eh?

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