Previously on this blog, I have posted about the UEFA 100 Club, where people try to attend a match of every club who has reached a European final (29 and counting is my score, since you ask), the trip home from Holland got me thinking of an international version, and I came up with two – The FIFA Six Club and the UEFA Nine Club.
The FIFA Six Club is seeing an international team from all Six FIFA confederations (AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA) play live.
All of my international football watching has been consigned to Northern Ireland matches (though that could change in a few months time, more of that, later) and thus, will have already ticked UEFA off my list.
Sometimes, exotic foreign teams turn up at Windsor for friendlies, and two of them, Canada and Morroco, have been non European, meaning I can tick off CAF and CONCACAF from my list.
This leaves me needing OFC, AFC and CONMEBOL. As this list will include only full internationals, that means I can’t include seeing Brazil’s Under 19 side play Northern Ireland in the 2003 Milk Cup.
In August, I shall hope to be in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Festival (not yet booked), and the week I am hoping to be there, Scotland play Australia in a friendly at Easter Road.
When I am in Edinburgh for the festival, I like to take in a match if there is one on, but this would also mean that I can tick off OFC from this list, meaning I need to see an Oceana and a South American team to complete this list.
But, FIFA’s continents are different from world documents. Australia play football in Asia, but is part of the continent of Australia while Israel (who I saw play Northern Ireland in 2009) play in Europe.
So, if we count world continents, I have Africa (Morocco) North America (Canada) Asia (Israel) Europe (Northern Ireland plus various others) and then I could tick off Australia (Australia) in August meaning South America the only one to get.
Come on IFA, pull the finger out for the next friendly date.
And what of the UEFA Nine Club? I hear you ask.
Well, nine countries have won the European Championship, which is impressive from fourteen tournaments, especially when you consider the World Cup only has eight from nineteen.
Eastern European politics of the late 1980s and early 1990s make this a controversial topic, with former winners Soviet Union (1960) and Czechoslovakia (1976) no longer in existence.
According to Wikipedia, Russia have inherited Soviet Union’s statistical history. So, if I go to see Northern Ireland v Russia in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, technically, I can tick them off the list?
Having been to Northern Ireland v Czech Republic in 2008, can I claim to do the same for Czechoslovakia?
Other European Champions I have seen live include : Spain (1964, 2008) Italy (1968) Germany (1972, 1980 as West Germany 1996) France (1984, 2000) and Holland (1988)
The only two I don’t have are Denmark (1992) and Greece (2004)
Denmark and Greece have both been to Windsor Park in recent(ish) years too. I couldn’t be arsed when Greece visited in 2003 and couldn’t get a ticket for Denmark in 2007.
So, that’s six out of nine European Champions, hopefully seven when Russia visit Windsor Park in 2013.
For the record, if Poland, Portugal or England win the European Championship for the first time this summer, I can automatically add them to the list.
For what it’s worth, I calculated how many games i’d been to, and I have 33 ‘caps’, the same as Sammy Clingan (I checked on Wikipedia)
For the record, the foreign side I have seen play the most?
Joint between Norway and Serbia on 3, though that includes one game as Serbia and Montenegro, with Austria, Canada, Spain, Wales and Scotland not far behind with 2.
One day, there will be a pointless football list that I will be able to tick off in it’s entirity.