No British football fans are unaware of England’s often recalled winning of the 1966 World Cup. More notably for Scottish football fans though is Scotland’s victory in 1967 over the then World Champions in England’s first international after lifting the trophy.
Upon winning the game, Scotland secured the coveted title of the Unofficial Football World Champions.
Such an achievement was formalised by journalist Paul Brown in 2003 when he created the Unofficial Football World Championship. The rules are simple: whoever defeats the title holder takes the title. It works as a knock-out system, similar to boxing, to determine the ultimate international team in the world at the time, and Scotland top the rankings.
It may come as a shock to the resilient Tartan Army, but Scotland top the table, and have for some time. With 86 wins over their fellow international competitors, Scotland have a good reputation in the FIFA-free competition.
Due to their history, the Home Nations have had the most chances at claiming the title. Some argue the system is unfair as a result. None of the Home Nations competing in 1930, 1934 or 1938 meant the title did not have much chance of traveling abroad. It wasn’t until 1931 that the title left the British Isles, when Austria won 5-0 over champions Scotland.
Since then, the title has traveled the world. Scotland’s most recent claiming of the title came in 2007 when they beat Georgia, who had stolen it back from Uruguay in 2006. Scotland had it taken away only four days later, losing to World Cup holders Italy.
Germany were the holders of the title after their World Cup win in Brazil and with Scotland travelling to Dortmund for their EURO 2016 qualifier on Sunday that could have seen them reclaim the title were it not for Germany losing 4-2 to Argentina in a recent friendly. Argentina have now regained the title.
Scotland have a respectable track record against the Germans, who bring an efficient model to their meeting on Sunday. The Scots were defeated 2-1 during their last encounter with Germany, which also happened to be a Euro Qualifier. The game prior to that saw Scotland hold the Germans at 1-1 in Hampden.
The German team have recently lost Philipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose to retirement, and Bastian Schweinsteiger will miss Germany’s next two games due to a knee injury. As the most experienced player, Schweinsteiger was recently named captain of the national side.
Germany carry forward an exceptional form in the wake of their World Cup campaign. Most notable is their performance against Brazil, who were traumatised by a 7-1 defeat on home soil that saw Germany go on to face then Unofficial Football World Champions Argentina.
Scotland have now played six games and are undefeated. They are yet to lose a game this year after drawing against Nigeria at Craven Cottage in May and beating fellow Euro 2016 hopefuls Poland in March.
So while Scotland cannot regain their Unofficial Football World Champions title on Sunday – can they come away with a result?
Written by Daniel Lafferty