Pound for Pound World Championship (1967 - 1984)

Written by Andrew Southwick.

So, fairly or unfairly, England were the World Champions in 1966.

There was a strong feeling of injustice around the world though, and a feeling amongst football fans that the English had no right to call themselves true champions of the world. England though appeared to be proving to be able champions, racking up three victories, until they welcomed their ancient rivals from north of the border, Scotland. The match was a British Championship match, where qualification for the European Championships was the ultimate prize, and therefore as the game was no friendly the World Cup was up for grabs.

On April 15, 1967, Scotland were crowned world champions with a 3-2 victory at Wembley. The scoreline indicates the game was close, but the gulf in class between the sides that day was so great that the Scots Jim Baxter decided to do keepy ups at one point to keep himself entertained. The world could rest again in the knowledge the crown of world champions was on the head of a deserving nation.

The UFWC rules state that Scotland lost the championship the following month when they lost 2-0 to the Soviet Union. However, the game was a mere friendly, and therefore the PPWC recognises that Scotland were still world champions after this date. The title was not lost until October, when a 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland, again the the British Championship, meant a new world champion was crowned. Their reign would be short though, and a month later a 2-0 defeat at Wembley gave the trophy back to England.

England held on to the trophy through a number of games, before losing 1-0 in the 1968 European Championships to Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia instantly had to defend their title, facing Italy three days later. They drew 1-1, forcing a replay two days afterwards, where eventually they lost 2-0 and Italy regained control of the PPWC, and held onto the crown for two years until the 1970 World Cup, where they made a fighting defence of the trophy before succumbing to the all powerful Brazilians in the final.

Such was the strength of that Brazilian side, that despite two friendly defeats - to Italy and Sweden - they remained world champions up until the 1974 World Cup. Brazil sneaked through their group on goal difference, denying Scotland qualification by one goal. They looked like they were there for the taking though, and duly suffered their first competitive defeat to Holland in the second group stage, which saw them fail to make the final out of the second group stage, and therefore could only watch as hosts West Germany became world champions.

The Germans topped the world for two years, then entered the European Championships, where they were to lose in the final to Czechoslovakia, albeit on penalty kicks. It could be argued that West Germany should have remained world champions because they were not defeated over 90 minutes, and the match only went to penalties in order to decide who won the European Championships. However, the match goes down as a competitive defeat for Germany, and therefore Czechoslovakia are known as world champions from that point onwards.

Onwards as world champions they went, but only up until March 30 1977, when a 3-0 defeat in Wrexham saw Wales win a World Cup qualifier, and be crowned PPWC kings. They remained undefeated through five friendlies, but in their next competitive game, in a famous match at Liverpool's Anfield, they went head to head with Scotland for a place at the 1978 World Cup.  A penalty from Don Masson and a Kenny Dalglish header meant not only were Scotland crowned world champions again, but would head to the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

Scotland's defence lasted until their last game before the World Cup, just before they would have had to relinquish the crown anyway. A 1-0 defeat at home to England though hurt, but they at least were heading to Argentina with a chance of reclaiming their throne - England had not qualified and therefore, in only the second time in PPWC history, the holder could not defend their trophy, and England's hold on the prize would last just eleven days without a single defence.

Scotland's attempt at being crowned world champions again faltered in the group stages, despite a 3-2 win over eventual finalists Holland, and the trophy was hoisted aloft by Argentina. This also meant that the PPWC was in line with the UFWC, who also crowned Argentina as their champions at this time. The PPWC continued to run alongside the UFWC when Bolivia took the crown in a 2-1 Copa America win. The UFWC  then recognises Bolivia's defeat to Paraguay as a friendly, but by PPWC rules it was a Peace of Chaco cup match and therefore we are obliged to also credit Paraguay with victory.

A Copa America defeat in December to Chile saw them lose the crown, and despite a rematch six days later they couldn't win it back. Up until June 24 the PPWC and UFWC had the same champions, but a friendly defeat to Brazil sees us break off again, and we continue to credit Chile with the tag of world champions up until April 29 1981, when a Copa Pinto Duran defeat to Uruguay saw the prize change hands, and they held on until August when a World Cup qualifying defeat to Peru ended their reign, and Peru took the trophy into the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

Peru made little impact on the World Cup, finishing bottom of their group and going home early. Italy were crowned champions once again with a 3-1 victory over West Germany, returning the trophy to Europe, and meaning the Italians now joined Brazil and Uruguay as having held the PPWC five times. The Azzuri were champions all the way until May 29 1983, when a 2-0 defeat in Gothenburg earned Sweden the PPWC for the first time. The success was short lived, and days later Romania defeated them 1-0, a title they would hold onto for twelve months before a European Championship defeat to Germany.

They held the PPWC for three days, before Spain became World Champions for the first time.


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