In many ways it, of course, bore no relation to the real World Cup final of 2002 taking place in on the same day, but in others it had all the pageantry, atmosphere, and sense of occasion that befits a global football event. On that particular day the cities of Yokohama in Japan and Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan high up in the Himalayas, were linked by a footballing contest. While the pinnacle of the world’s game was being decided in Japan, the two countries ranked at the bottom of FIFA’s meritocracy played out the Other Final to decide who was the worst national team in the world.
An enterprising Dutch film crew, who turned their nation’s disappointment at failing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup into an idea to look at those national teams rather more accustomed to losing than their own. This idea took them to the FIFA website and its world rankings, at the bottom of which sat Montserrat and Bhutan. Continue reading
The draw for the opening round of Asian qualification for the 2018 World Cup has been made, accounting for the weakest twelve countries in the Asian Confederation, which of course includes our current lone Worst in the World; Bhutan.
The set of home and away fixtures see Bhutan pitted against Sri Lanka, a team ranked 37 places higher than them in the world rankings, sitting in 172nd place, or 36th in Asia compared to Bhutan’s 46th. Of all the possible opponents at this stage (the best 6 of the twelve teams at this stage), only India are higher ranked than Sri Lanka so it’s fair to say that Bhutan haven’t been overly fortunate in the opponent they’ve been drawn against.
Asian qualification is doubling up as Asian Cup qualification this time around, which sounds odd considering the last Asian Cup Finals has only just finished in Australia, but it’s to prevent the past issues of meaningless qualifying rounds to find the 16 Asian Cup finalist and to include all Asian nations in that process; something that hasn’t been the case for the past few tournaments. Continue reading
More usually it has been the little volcanic rock of Montserrat that has been the focus of Worst in the World attention in the Caribbean, but of course they have risen from the depths and left us for a few years at least. But our focus on the annual Caribbean Cup competition remains thanks to the Turks & Caicos Islands.
The Caribbean Cup itself will take place later in the year in Montego Bay, Jamaica; in November to be precise. Eight teams will make it that far out of the 26 who entered this year. Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Saint Martin and Sint Maarten did not enter, but thankfully Turks & Caicos did so we have some preliminary round action to look forward to. Continue reading
Confirmation came today in the latest FIFA rankings that Montserrat have finally climbed off the bottom of the world rankings, following their stunning 7-0 win over the British Virgin Islands last month. That lone victory, a first in 18 years has earned Montserrat an incredible 66 ranking points and resulted in a climb up to 181st place in the current rankings table, a climb of 25 places. Utterly astonishing. Continue reading
9th September 2012
Caribbean Cup First Qualifying Round
Stade Pierre Aliker, Fort-de-France, Martinique. Att. 120
British Virgin Islands 0-7 Montserrat
Well I don’t know what to say! Not only have Montserrat avoided defeat for the first time since joining FIFA in 1996, they’ve also got a first win and done it in fine style. A 7-0 victory is simply astounding.
An even first 30 minutes belied two teams that, for all their positive talk, were short on confidence and lacked the belief to just go for it. And then, as the first half wore on, the chance to grasp the initiative was presented to Montserrat. Marlon Campbell, one of the new breed of UK-based players, playing his club football with Bethnal Green United, got his international goal scoring record off the mark with two strikes late in the first half to put Montserrat two goals to the good. Minutes later, they were in dreamland when their Australian-based midfielder, Darryl Roach, made it three. Continue reading
So this is it. A potentially huge match for Montserrat and a realistic opportunity to climb from the foot of the FIFA rankings and avoid defeat for the first time as a FIFA affiliated nation.
I hope I’m not being too overly optimistic, but given the previous results in this group is it really too much to ask that Montserrat have a real chance against the British Virgin Islands? All past history for Montserrat screams at me to stop being so daft, but let’s look at the evidence. Continue reading
7th September 2012
Caribbean Cup First Qualifying Round
Stade En Camee, Riviere-Pilote, Martinique. Att. 400
Martinique 5-0 Montserrat
Only a 5-0 defeat to Martinique is not a bad showing at all for our intrepid islanders from Montserrat, who made several changes to the team from the first match two days ago. Bearing in mind that British Virgin Islands were beaten 16-0 by the same opponents this performance offers real hope for Montserrat’s final group match against BVI. Can it really be hoped that defeat will be avoided, or whisper it quietly, even a win? Continue reading