An Alternate History of FIFA, the World Cup, and International Football.

  • The year is 2018.
    The World Cup has been underway for the past few weeks, and it's been a very exciting tournament for all involved.
    Hosts Sweden are entering their home field, the Friends Arena, to face off against first-time finalists Wallonia.
    During the first few minutes of the match, Sweden's worst nightmare comes to pass: their star striker has been dealt with a green card! He'll be out for the rest of the match.

    Wait, what?
    Football as we know it could've had many divergences. Here, we're starting at one of the earliest possible points: FIFA's very foundation.

    (My sincere apologies to people who were following my previous timeline, The Free World Cup. I ran out of steam and found it tedious to write out what happened in many specific matches. Here, I'll be a bit more loose with the writing, but I'll try to pack more content in terms of competitions and such)
    21 May 1904 – The Foundation of FIFA
  • 21 May 1904 – The Foundation of FIFA

    21 May 1904. Representatives from all of Europe’s major footballing associations have gathered in Paris to decide on the statutes they would have to live by from now on, in their new supra-national federation known as the Fédération Internationale de Football Association or FIFA. They decided on the following:
    • Matches were to be played according to the Laws of the Game.
    • Only the represented national associations would be recognized by FIFA.
    • Any association with substantial recognition from other associations will be accepted into FIFA.
    • FIFA was to be in charge of organizing all major international matches and friendlies.
    • Players could only play for 2 national associations total.
    • A player suspended by one association would be suspended from all associations.
    • The federation would not recognize non-FIFA matches from its foundation onward.
    Along with these statutes, it was decided that all national associations would have to play for something known as the “World Cup of Football” every 2 years. The following national associations attended the Paris meeting:
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Denmark
    • France
    • Germany
    • Netherlands
    • Scotland
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Wales
    The following joined later that day or during the week via telegram:
    • Argentina
    • Bohemia
    • Canada
    • England
    • Hungary
    • Ireland
    • United States
    • Uruguay
    The football bodies of all of these nations would answer to the one and only FIFA. It took a lot of convincing to get England to accept that last point, but it was done.

    Meetings continued throughout the rest of the month, to decide the hosts and format of this “World Cup of Football”. Three nations stepped up to the task of hosting: Scotland, Belgium and Austria. Austria was rejected due to most of its suitable stadiums being too inland, while Belgium had a severe lack of proper stadia for the event. Scotland met all of the requirements, so they became the hosts for the first World Cup of Football, to be played on 13 May 1906.

    Deciding on the format, meanwhile, was tricky. With 19 member associations, a bracket format would be unsuitable, as 3 nations would either be forced out or forced into a play-off. The Danish and Swedish delegations proposed a format with an initial group stage of 5 teams in 3 groups and 4 teams in 1 group, all playing each other once, with the top 2 of each group advancing to a quarter-finals knockout stage. Goal average would be used to break any potential ties. As no better system was proposed, it was unanimously voted to pass, and it would be the prototype of the classic World Cup tournament system to come.
    1904, 1905 and 1906 – Prelude to the First World Cup
  • 1904, 1905 and 1906 – Prelude to the First World Cup​

    Since 1884, the four British Home Nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) have played each other in a pseudo-competition known as the British Home Championship. The first tournament played following FIFA’s founding was officialised by FIFA itself, donating a small silver trophy for whichever team won the tournament that season. The 1904-05 edition would be won by England with Scotland as runners-up, while they would have to share the title with them in the 1905-06 edition. Wales were in 3rd place and Ireland in 4th place in both editions.

    A few neighbouring nations played friendly matches throughout this period. Argentina and Uruguay faced each other many times, with the record between them being tied 6-6 with 2 draws. Austria, Hungary and Bohemia would have a few goes at each other, with Hungary showing its dominance by triumphing every time. Belgium and France had a bi-yearly friendly tournament, with Belgium winning the most times. They would invite the Netherlands and a composite team of both Luxembourg the country and Luxembourg the province to the last tournament before the World Cup, which would be won by the Netherlands.

    Associations representing specific regions instead of entire countries began to spring up all throughout Europe and the rest of the World. The United States and Canada, due to their enormous size, had a myriad of regional associations, sometimes representing entire states or provinces while other times representing part of them. Associations on the East Coast formed their own pseudo-FIFA for North America, made up of the following:
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • New Brunswick
    • New Hampshire
    • New York City
    • New York State
    • Nova Scotia
    • Ontario
    • Pennsylvania
    • Prince Edward Island
    • Quebec
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Acadia (team made up of French-speaking North Americans outside of Quebec, not representing any specific area)
    The United States Football Association recognized this regional offshoot and took it under its wing. This caused the association to change its name to the United States Football Federation. Canada was hesitant to do the same due to the existence of the Acadia team, but the presence of the Ontario and Quebec associations (which were already a part of the Dominion of Canada Football Association) convinced them to recognize it as well.

    The regional associations in Europe would fail to be recognized by their larger governing bodies. Among these associations were those of Catalonia and the Isle of Man, who were looking into organizing their own leagues.
    The 1906 Scotland World Cup of Football – Group Stage
  • The 1906 Scotland World Cup of Football – Group Stage​

    And so, 13 May 1906 had finally arrived. All of FIFA’s member teams arrived in Scotland, most of them with smooth sailings. Argentina and Uruguay had the longest and most expensive trip, so a few associations chipped in some money to help them pay for their boat trips.

    The draw for the group stage would not have any pots or anything of the sort, like in modern draws. Besides Scotland being seeded to Group 1, all teams would be randomly assigned to their groups.
    • Group 1: Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Hungary
    • Group 2: Ireland, Wales, England, United States, Sweden
    • Group 3: Netherlands, Canada, Bohemia, France, Switzerland
    • Group 4: Argentina, Spain, Austria, Uruguay

    Group 1​

    Hungary 3-1 Denmark
    Scotland 2-0 Germany
    Belgium 1-1 Hungary
    Denmark 5-1 Germany
    Scotland 3-2 Belgium
    Hungary 2-0 Germany
    Belgium 1-0 Germany
    Scotland 3-0 Denmark
    Denmark 0-0 Belgium
    Scotland 2-1 Hungary

    Group 1 was one of the hottest groups of the World Cup. It featured the opening match, Hungary v Denmark, played at Hampden Park, which had record-breaking crowds for an international football match. In the end, Belgium and Denmark crashed out of the tournament, along with Germany, which many considered a surprise at the time, as they didn’t win a single group game. The hosts advanced to the quarter-finals unbeaten while Hungary finished as runners-up.

    Group 2​

    Sweden 2-1 Wales
    United States 1-0 England
    Sweden 8-0 Ireland
    England 3-1 Wales
    United States 4-1 Ireland
    England 2-2 Sweden
    England 9-0 Ireland
    United States 2-0 Wales
    Wales 6-1 Ireland
    Sweden 3-2 United States

    Three out of four British Home Nations in Group 2 made for an exciting time for any British fans that decided to make a quick trip to watch the World Cup. However, the biggest surprise of this group was the United States, which beat England in their first match, leaving them in disbelief. There was no professional football league in the United States at the time, so English professionals from the most prestigious league in the world were bested by amateurs. Wales and Ireland did as expected, while Sweden managed to top the group unbeaten, with the United States close behind.

    Group 3​

    Switzerland 1-1 Canada
    France 4-3 Bohemia
    Netherlands 2-1 Switzerland
    Canada 0-0 Bohemia
    France 3-3 Netherlands
    Switzerland 4-1 Bohemia
    Netherlands 6-1 Bohemia
    France 2-2 Canada
    Switzerland 5-3 France
    Netherlands 2-0 Canada

    The Netherlands comfortably advanced from Group 3 unbeaten, as France fell by the wayside to the benefit of Switzerland. Canada drew nearly all of their games, unexpectedly ending above Bohemia in the group.

    Group 4​

    Uruguay 3-2 Argentina
    Austria 2-0 Spain
    Argentina 5-0 Austria
    Uruguay 4-1 Spain
    Argentina 6-2 Spain
    Uruguay 7-2 Austria

    Uruguay and Argentina got to duke it out once again in Group 4, with Uruguay defeating Argentina but both dominating their fairly straight-forward group against Spain and Austria, with the match between the two losers being more of a formality than anything.

    8 teams advanced to the quarter-finals. The winner of Group 1 would face the runner-up of Group 2, the winner of Group 3 would face the runner-up of Group 4, and the inverse for the other side of the table. One side would play in Glasgow and the other in Edinburgh.
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    The 1906 Scotland World Cup of Football – Knockout Stage
  • The 1906 Scotland World Cup of Football – Knockout Stage​

    The United States had been particular favourites of the local Scottish crowds for embarrassing the English, but now it was time for them to face off on the pitch. The Scottish rocked the Americans, showing dominance all throughout the game and beating them 3-0. The Netherlands, despite their group stage success, could not replicate that greatness against the Argentines, falling 3-0 by half-time and 5-1 by full-time.

    Sweden and Hungary had the most equal match-up of the quarter-finals, with both teams duking it out in an extremely close match, but a last-minute finisher from Sweden buried Hungary’s chances of advancing. Uruguay continued their unbeaten streak against Switzerland, which found itself hopeless after going down 4-0 in the first half. One lonely goal at the beginning of the second half brought them a glimmer of hope, but they couldn’t build from it and they fell to the Orientals.

    The World Cup was already considered a success at this point by FIFA, with a great attendance record and news of the results of the tournament reaching the people of the participating countries, leading to hundreds more making the trip to go see the matches in Scotland. Then, only 4 remained.

    The Scotland and Argentina match would go down in infamy as the first of the World Cup’s many “Battles”. The Battle of Glasgow, as it became known, ended in multiple dismissals for both sides and injuries for most of the defenders. Due to things like cards and suspensions not existing at the time, there weren’t any significant consequences for this, and a few of the dismissed players were controversially allowed back into the game after a couple of minutes. Finally, after a long, drawn out and exhausting game, Scotland managed a goal in on the 80th minute and Argentina failed to equalize. The local crowd roared, as the hosts got closer and closer to the title of World Champions.

    The second semi-final match would be nowhere close to this level as Uruguay took the Swedes for a spin, battering them both figuratively and literally. Another four goals for Uruguay as the Swedes couldn’t manage to get a single one in. Onto the final.

    There was supposed to be a 3rd place match in Edinburgh between Argentina and Sweden, but Argentina withdrew due to the exhaustion of their players and issues they had with the officiating of the previous match. Sweden were promptly given their bronze medals right as they were preparing to head back home.

    It was time for the grand final, to crown the best national team as World Champions. Tensions were high, as the local Scottish fans were expecting a victory over the little-supported Uruguayans. They had the hearts of the English crowds who wished for Scotland’s loss, however. Before the match, the Uruguayan players received death threats from Scottish fans standing outside the hotel they were residing in, which resulted in police involvement and multiple arrests due to fights breaking out between said fans.

    On the 3rd of June, at Hampden Park, the home of Queen’s Park FC, the first World Cup final kicked off. Almost immediately, the Uruguayan defence broke down and allowed in a goal at the 2nd minute of the game. They had a tough time trying to get past Scotland, and the aggressive atmosphere towards them in the stadium didn’t help at all. What made matters worse was a second Scottish goal in the 28th minute mark. The hosts, emboldened by their home advantage, played an incredibly offensive game as the Uruguayans struggled to catch up. A third goal came in the 40th minute, and the first half ended soon after.

    The Uruguayan contingent was hopeless. They had soared high for the past 5 matches, with an average of 4 goals per game, but now reality was hitting them like a truck. Still, they came out onto the field after the break was over and scored a goal incredibly quickly against an overconfident Scottish defence, putting them at 1-3. The hosts would widen the gap again by counter-attacking in the very next play, and they would steal the ball after Uruguay’s kick-off to score yet another goal. The exact time between this goal and the previous one is unknown, but most sources say there were roughly 70 seconds of space between each of these goals. 5-1.

    The Orientals would scratch and crawl for their comeback, managing to score another goal in the 65th minute. Scotland was unable to widen the gap, and a botched goalkeeper save left them open to another Uruguay goal. The score was 5-3 with 10 minutes left on the clock. Uruguay scored another goal just 3 minutes before the end of the match, as the Scottish crowd was getting rowdier and rowdier. However, there was no saving the Uruguayans. The equalizer never came.


    Scotland are World Champions!
    The 1906 Scotland World Cup of Football – Aftermath
  • The 1906 Scotland World Cup of Football – Aftermath​

    Local crowds celebrated Scotland’s win fiercely. The streets of Glasgow erupted into joy as the Uruguayans began to leave, defeated. Scotland had earned the title of best team in the world, something they would rub on English fans’ faces eternally. The news quickly made its way across the world. The success of the World Cup overseas made fans in Argentina and Uruguay slightly peeved, as very few of them could have afforded the trip to go watch the tournament.

    Over the next 2 weeks following the World Cup, the national teams of Argentina, Uruguay, the United States and Canada would remain in Scotland to play a few friendlies against local clubs. The results of these friendlies were:

    Argentina 2-0 Partick Thistle
    Argentina 4-1 Dundee
    Argentina 2-0 Rangers
    Uruguay 5-0 Airdrieonians
    Uruguay 8-0 Third Lanark
    Uruguay 3-1 Hibernian
    United States 0-0 Motherwell
    United States 6-0 Queen’s Park
    United States 2-2 Aberdeen
    Canada 1-3 Celtic
    Canada 4-0 St Mirren
    Canada 1-1 Kilmarnock

    FIFA celebrated the success of the World Cup, and they began their first intake of new associations almost immediately.
    1906, 1907 and 1908 – Expansion, Regional Associations and World Cup Restructuring
  • 1906, 1907 and 1908 – Expansion, Regional Associations and World Cup Restructuring​

    The next few years leading up to the 1908 World Cup would be crucial to FIFA’s development. First, the following national and colonial associations were admitted into the association without much controversy:
    • Bengal
    • British Guiana
    • Bombay
    • Chile
    • Finland
    • Haiti
    • Hong Kong
    • Italy
    • Jamaica
    • Malta
    • Mexico
    • New Zealand
    • Norway
    • Paraguay
    • Philippines
    • Romania
    • Singapore
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    However, issues arose when Gibraltar applied to join FIFA, with the support of the Home Nations. Spain attempted to block them from doing so, but FIFA superseded them and allowed them into the federation. This led to Spain resigning from FIFA, and continuing to organise its local matters on its own. This opened the door for Catalonia to enter the federation, since there was no Spain to prevent them from doing so.

    FIFA President Daniel Burley Woolfall, who had taken over shortly following the World Cup, would open an inquiry into regional associations acting independently throughout Europe and the World. The ones found in Brazil and Australia became special cases, as there were no over-arching associations to regulate them. Regional associations throughout the United States and Canada preferred to remain subservient to their overarching federations, with the exception of Quebec.

    With the go-ahead of their home nations, the following regional associations were accepted into FIFA:
    • Alderney
    • Bahia
    • Guernsey
    • Isle of Man
    • Jersey
    • Leinster
    • Munster
    • Mysore
    • New South Wales
    • Quebec
    • Queensland
    • Rio de Janeiro
    • São Paulo
    • South Australia
    • Tasmania
    • Victoria
    • Western Australia
    This massive expansion from 19 to 55 meant that getting every team to participate in the World Cup was an impossible task. Therefore, qualifiers were set up to whittle them down to a mere 20 teams. Qualifiers would be group stages, to be divided geographically. These matches would played throughout 1907 and early 1908.

    Now, it was time to select the hosts of the next World Cup. The United States, Argentina and France all applied to host. The United States and Argentina were dismissed due to distance, so the hosting duties were automatically granted to France.
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    The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Qualifiers, Part 1
  • The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Qualifiers, Part 1​

    Hosts France and champions Scotland were granted automatic qualification, which meant that 53 teams would have to battle it out for 18 spots. The qualifiers were divided along the following geographically assigned groups:
    • Group 1: England, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney
    • Group 2: Wales, Ireland, Leinster, Munster, Isle of Man
    • Group 3: Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland
    • Group 4: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland
    • Group 5: Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Romania
    • Group 6: Italy, Malta, Catalonia, Gibraltar
    • Group 7: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile
    • Group 8: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, British Guiana
    • Group 9: United States, Canada, Quebec
    • Group 10: Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago
    • Group 11: Bengal, Bombay, Mysore
    • Group 12: Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore
    • Group 13: New South Wales, New Zealand Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania
    Two teams would qualify in groups 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7, while only one would qualify in the rest.

    Group 1​

    England 22-0 Alderney
    England 14-0 Guernsey
    England 9-0 Jersey

    England easily made it out of the group. The Channel Islands didn’t play any games between each other due to England already qualifying.

    Group 2​

    Ireland 5-1 Isle of Man
    Leinster 2-0 Munster
    Wales 8-2 Isle of Man
    Leinster 3-2 Ireland
    Wales 2-0 Munster
    Leinster 6-0 Isle of Man
    Wales 3-3 Leinster
    Munster 0-0 Ireland

    The match between the Isle of Man and Munster wasn’t played, due to Wales and Leinster already qualifying. Ireland became the first World Cup veteran not to make it to the next World Cup, while Leinster would make its first World Cup appearance.

    Group 3​

    Netherlands 2-0 Switzerland
    Germany 4-1 Belgium
    Netherlands 4-2 Belgium
    Switzerland 1-0 Germany
    Belgium 4-0 Switzerland
    Netherlands 1-0 Germany

    This incredibly close group made up entirely of World Cup veterans was controversial due to the skill level of three out of the four nations being mostly equal, while the rest of the groups were incredibly unbalanced. Unexpectedly, quarter-finalists Switzerland crashed out early in favour of Germany.

    Group 4​

    Sweden 4-1 Finland
    Norway 1-1 Denmark
    Norway 1-0 Sweden
    Denmark 5-1 Finland
    Sweden 2-0 Denmark
    Finland 2-1 Norway

    Norway had an impressive performance, giving veterans Sweden and Denmark a scare, but they couldn’t make much of it and the veterans qualified anyways.

    Group 5​

    Austria 6-1 Romania
    Bohemia 0-0 Hungary
    Austria 3-0 Bohemia
    Hungary 3-2 Romania
    Hungary 4-4 Austria
    Romania 0-0 Bohemia

    Hungary and Austria comfortably sat atop their group, dumping Bohemia and Romania.

    Group 6​

    Italy 14-0 Gibraltar
    Catalonia 10-1 Malta
    Catalonia 2-1 Italy
    Malta 2-0 Gibraltar
    Italy 5-0 Malta
    Catalonia 8-0 Gibraltar

    This group was entirely made up of new FIFA members. Catalonia qualified over Italy and they would make their World Cup debut in 1908.

    Group 7​

    Argentina 3-1 Chile
    Uruguay 7-0 Paraguay
    Argentina 5-1 Paraguay
    Uruguay 4-0 Chile

    Argentina and Uruguay dominated the group. The last two matches were not played due to them already qualifying.

    Group 8​

    São Paulo 16-0 British Guiana
    Rio de Janeiro 3-1 Bahia
    São Paulo 0-0 Bahia
    Rio de Janeiro 9-1 British Guiana
    São Paulo 2-1 Rio de Janeiro

    The last game between Bahia and British Guiana was not played due to São Paulo already qualifying. São Paulo would make its World Cup debut.

    Group 9​

    Canada 3-0 Quebec
    United States 5-1 Quebec
    United States 2-0 Canada

    The United States triumphed over both Quebec and Canada, qualifying for their second World Cup.

    Group 10​

    Mexico 7-1 Trinidad and Tobago
    Mexico 5-0 Jamaica
    Mexico 11-2 Haiti

    Mexico swiftly defeated all three Caribbean teams, so there was no need for them to play each other.
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    The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Qualifiers, Part 2
  • The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Qualifiers, Part 2​

    Group 11​

    Mysore 1-1 Bombay
    Bengal 4-0 Mysore
    Bengal 7-2 Bombay

    Bengal demolished Mysore and Bombay to become the first Indian team to qualify for the World Cup.

    Group 12​

    Philippines 3-2 Singapore
    Hong Kong 4-0 Singapore
    Hong Kong 2-2 Philippines

    Hong Kong advanced to the World Cup with little to spare against the Philippines.

    Group 13​

    New South Wales 2-0 New Zealand
    New South Wales 1-0 Victoria
    New South Wales 4-2 Queensland
    New South Wales 7-0 South Australia
    New South Wales 2-1 Western Australia
    New South Wales 9-2 Tasmania

    This group was held in a special gauntlet-style format, as in, one team (in this case, New South Wales) would face all the other teams until it either defeats them all or loses against one; whichever team won against NSW would take its place and continue facing the other teams. However, this last rule never came into play as NSW defeated all of the other teams and advanced to the World Cup.
    The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Group Stage
  • The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Group Stage​

    13 May 1908. Like in the previous World Cup, there were no pots, and the qualified teams were randomly assigned to their groups. France and Scotland were seeded and kept apart in the draw. There were a few more long boat trips this time around, which meant that a few players from far away teams like New South Wales and Hong Kong arrived with little time to train and prepare for the tournament.

    After the draw, the groups were the following:
    • Group 1: France, Catalonia, New South Wales, England, Leinster
    • Group 2: Argentina, Denmark, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Sweden
    • Group 3: Scotland, Germany, Bengal, Wales, Austria
    • Group 4: United States, Mexico, São Paulo, Uruguay, Hungary

    Group 1​

    Leinster 2-2 Catalonia
    England 3-0 New South Wales
    France 4-2 Leinster
    New South Wales 2-1 Catalonia
    England 2-1 France
    Leinster 1-0 New South Wales
    France 3-3 New South Wales
    England 3-1 Catalonia
    Catalonia 0-0 France
    England 4-0 Leinster

    Group 1 featured the birth of intense footballing rivalries between England, France and Leinster. France and England managed to shake off their woes in the previous World Cup and reached the knockout stage, though France did just barely. New South Wales managed to impress with their 3-3 draw against the hosts, but Leinster and Catalonia had mediocre runs.

    Group 2​

    Sweden 2-1 Denmark
    Netherlands 8-0 Hong Kong
    Argentina 1-1 Sweden
    Denmark 0-0 Hong Kong
    Netherlands 3-2 Argentina
    Sweden 5-1 Hong Kong
    Argentina 6-0 Hong Kong
    Denmark 4-2 Netherlands
    Argentina 2-0 Denmark
    Sweden 1-1 Netherlands

    Group 2 was a close race between Sweden, Argentina and the Netherlands, with the former two advancing to the next round. Denmark crashed out with an embarrassing draw against minnows Hong Kong and a campaign-ruining victory against the Netherlands.

    Group 3​

    Austria 5-3 Germany
    Wales 1-1 Bengal
    Scotland 3-1 Austria
    Germany 2-0 Bengal
    Wales 1-0 Scotland
    Austria 8-1 Bengal
    Scotland 4-1 Bengal
    Germany 2-1 Wales
    Scotland 6-0 Germany
    Austria 3-2 Wales

    Defending champions Scotland topped Group 3, with Austria close behind. Scotland had a freak loss against Wales, ending their 3-year-long unbeaten run. Germany had another mediocre performance despite what was expected of the team, while Bengal did more than expected with their lonely draw against the Welsh.

    Group 4​

    Hungary 0-0 Mexico
    Uruguay 4-1 São Paulo
    United States 2-2 Hungary
    São Paulo 3-1 Mexico
    Uruguay 1-0 United States
    Hungary 5-0 São Paulo
    United States 1-1 São Paulo
    Uruguay 7-1 Mexico
    United States 2-0 Mexico
    Hungary 3-1 Uruguay

    Another giant suffered a freak loss in Group 4, with Uruguay losing against and ending 2nd to Hungary. The other three teams, all from the Americas, stood no chance against the group winners, playing dead rubber matches among themselves. The United States and Mexico did manage draws against Hungary and the former a close match against Uruguay, while the Paulistas couldn’t make much out of their group.

    Like before, 8 teams advanced to the quarter-finals. There were four match venues.
    The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Knockout Stage
  • The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Knockout Stage​

    England and Austria had made it to the knockout stage for the first time, and they would have to best each other on the field. A fairly even 1-1 end to the first half was quickly interrupted by an English goal in the 49th minute. The Englishmen proceeded to park the bus through the rest of the game, assuring their victory. Sweden v Uruguay had a similar 1-1 draw situation, but the draw wasn’t broken up by the end of the match, which meant it had to be replayed later that day. The crowd was allowed to return without paying for a second ticket. The Uruguayans, exhausted from the trip and from the previous match, completely broke down against the Swedes, allowing 3 goals in before the Uruguayans just up and left the pitch at the 25th minute.

    The French were presented with the seemingly insurmountable task of defeating the reigning world champions Scotland. They scored a goal near the beginning, but the Scotsmen would come back in to make the score 2-1. Then, the unthinkable happened: the Frenchmen not only equalized the game, but they scored one more goal to make it 3-2. The Tartan Terriers failed to equalize and were eliminated without the chance of defending their title. Hungary v Argentina was nowhere near as dramatic, though it was a close game. A 0-0 draw for most of the way through, Argentina scored a single goal and that was it, the Europeans out and the South Americans in.

    Sweden and Argentina were once again at the cusp of success, while England and France would enter the semi-final bout for the first time.

    By this point, many England fans had made the trip across the Channel and to Strasbourg to watch the match against Sweden. They were treated to a spectacle, with the English team dominating the Swedes, pelting them with 3 goals against one isolated Swedish goal by half-time. The Blågult had hopes of a comeback after scoring another goal, but the Three Lions kicked them to the curb with one more goal to make it 4-2. England was in the final.

    The next day, in Paris, France and Argentina duked it out for a chance at victory. The French, underdogs despite being on their home turf, made another great upset by scoring 2 goals against none for Argentina. Try as they might, they couldn’t get through France’s defence, and they found themselves vying for third place once again.

    Sweden and Argentina would face each other for the second time in the tournament, now for the bronze medal, something that wasn’t done in the previous World Cup. Now, the Argentines were willing to play for that third place medal after they faced some criticism for withdrawing back home. However, this time, there was another issue. By full-time, the game was 1-1. FIFA offered a replay, but both teams refused. Therefore, both were awarded bronze medals, while Scotland were given honorary 4th place due to their group stage performance.

    England and France would face each other in the tournament again, following their 2-1 game in Group 1. The England team was prepared. Over-prepared, even. Although the French had home advantage on their side, it hadn’t been an easy road for them, facing against previous champions and semi-finalists, and they were the worst team to make it out of the group stage. None of that mattered now, though.

    The game was dominated by England from the get-go. Goals at 14’, 22’ and 37’ cemented England’s lead, with France being unable to score any throughout the first half. There were some delays at half-time when a fight broke out in the stands between local Parisians and travelling England fans, which meant that the 15-minute half-time break lasted closer to half an hour.

    It looked like this World Cup would emulate the previous World Cup and its completely one-sided final. France’s strategy changed in the second half, as they would focus on constant possession of the ball so that England had less of a chance to score goals. They scored 2 goals using this strategy at 51’ and 76’, but they could not find the third goal. The English tried to widen the gap as they did during the match against Sweden, but they couldn’t do it either. That didn’t matter, though. The referee blew his whistle.


    England are World Champions!
    The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Aftermath
  • The 1908 France World Cup of Football – Aftermath​

    England had one-upped the Scots by not only winning the World Cup by beating the team that eliminated them, but also by winning it away from home. Jokingly, Welsh fans called for their turn winning the Cup next. There was plenty of celebration back in Britain, including an official letter of congratulation from King Edward VII, an honour not bestowed upon the Scots.

    Like before, teams from lands far away from Europe would stick around for a few weeks to play against local French teams. This time, New South Wales, Hong Kong, Bengal, the United States, São Paulo and Mexico played against teams from the Championnat de France.

    New South Wales 1-2 RC Roubaix
    New South Wales 1-0 Olympique de Marseille
    Hong Kong 0-4 CA Paris
    Hong Kong 2-0 Amiens SC
    Bengal 2-2 Olympique Lyonnais
    Bengal 3-1 Stade Rennais
    United States 1-1 Stade Bordelais
    United States 4-0 Le Havre AC
    São Paulo 6-3 Stade Toulousain
    São Paulo 7-0 Stade Universitaire Caennais
    Mexico 8-2 US Le Mans
    Mexico 3-1 Stade Rémois

    Unlike last time, there was no deliberation and FIFA immediately decided that the 1910 World Cup of Football would be hosted in England, as they had all of the facilities to do so.
    Football at the 1908 London Olympics
  • Football at the 1908 London Olympics​

    Just four months after the end of the World Cup, the Olympics would host its first football tournament organised by FIFA. 8 nations participated, 7 from Europe and 1 from North America. A composite Great Britain team would play a competitive match for the first time.

    Most of the participating nations did not send their strongest sides, and Sweden was no exception, losing 8-0 against the Great Britain team. The Hungarians beat the Dutch 2-1 with the Bosnian Crisis going on back home, which nearly made them pull out of the tournament. Denmark had radically changed up their squad from the World Cup, and managed a shocking 21-0 victory over Canada. France kicked Bohemia to the curb 3-1.

    In the semi-finals, the hosts would shake off Hungary 4-1. Meanwhile, in the other match, World Cup finalists France would suffer a humiliating loss against Denmark 17-1. This loss was so shocking to the French that they refused to play the bronze medal match, so the medal was automatically granted to Hungary.

    Great Britain and Denmark were the dominating forces in this tournament, but you wouldn’t have known that just from watching the final. Denmark demolished the hosts 8-3, to the disgust of the local crowd, disappointed to see a team mostly made up of World Cup winners falter to a team like Denmark. The Danish, on the other hand, received a warm welcome back home and hopes were high for a good performance if they returned to England for the 1910 World Cup.
    The 1910 England World Cup of Football – Qualifiers
  • The 1910 England World Cup of Football – Qualifiers​

    As England were both hosts and reigning champions, there were 19 spots to fill this time between 66 teams. The qualification system had been tweaked in many ways. The groups were the following:
    • Group 1: Scotland, Ireland, Leinster, Munster, Isle of Man
    • Group 2: Wales, Cornwall, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney
    • Group 3: France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg
    • Group 4: Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Malta
    • Group 5: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland
    • Group 6: Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Romania
    • Group 7: Catalonia, Basque Country, Galicia, Toledo-La Mancha, Gibraltar
    • Group 8: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile
    • Group 9A: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia
    • Group 9B: Pará, Paraíba, British Guiana
    • Group 10: United States, Canada, Quebec, Jamaica
    • Group 11: Mexico, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados
    • Group 12A: Bengal, Bombay, Mysore
    • Group 12B: Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore
    • Group 13: Cape, Transvaal, Natalia, Orange Free State
    • Group 14A: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia
    • Group 14B: New Zealand, Victoria, Tasmania
    2 teams would advance from Groups 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8, while only one would advance in the rest. Groups 9, 12 and 14 were divided into A and B zones; the winners of these zones would face each other in play-offs for qualification. This time, FIFA ensured all games would be played, instead of groups being abandoned once a clear winner was established. This was so national teams could gain more competitive experience.

    Europe Zone


    Group 1​

    Ireland 7-0 Isle of Man
    Leinster 2-1 Munster
    Scotland 18-0 Isle of Man
    Ireland 3-3 Leinster
    Scotland 4-1 Munster
    Leinster 16-0 Isle of Man
    Scotland 1-1 Leinster
    Munster 3-1 Ireland
    Scotland 6-0 Ireland
    Munster 6-1 Isle of Man

    Group 2​

    Cornwall 26-0 Alderney
    Jersey 4-3 Guernsey
    Wales 24-0 Alderney
    Cornwall 5-1 Jersey
    Wales 9-0 Guernsey
    Jersey 3-1 Alderney
    Wales 6-0 Jersey
    Cornwall 10-0 Guernsey
    Cornwall 1-0 Wales
    Guernsey 8-0 Alderney

    Group 3​

    France 5-0 Luxembourg
    Belgium 2-2 Netherlands
    France 3-2 Belgium
    Netherlands 4-1 Luxembourg
    Netherlands 0-0 France
    Belgium 7-0 Luxembourg

    Group 4​

    Italy 0-0 Switzerland
    Germany 3-1 Italy
    Switzerland 2-1 Germany

    Group 5​

    Finland 2-2 Sweden
    Denmark 5-0 Norway
    Sweden 2-1 Norway
    Denmark 9-1 Finland
    Denmark 4-0 Sweden
    Finland 0-0 Norway

    Group 6​

    Romania 1-0 Austria
    Bohemia 2-0 Hungary
    Austria 3-1 Bohemia
    Romania 0-0 Hungary
    Hungary 5-2 Austria
    Romania 3-0 Bohemia

    Group 7​

    Basque Country 6-0 Gibraltar
    Toledo-La Mancha 3-0 Galicia
    Catalonia 8-2 Gibraltar
    Basque Country 1-1 Galicia
    Toledo-La Mancha 0-0 Catalonia
    Galicia 7-0 Gibraltar
    Catalonia 4-2 Galicia
    Basque Country 2-1 Toledo-La Mancha
    Basque Country 6-4 Catalonia
    Toledo-La Mancha 12-0 Gibraltar

    Cornwall caused an upset against Wales in Group 2 and qualified for their first World Cup. Malta withdrew from Group 4 due to being unwilling to travel the distance to Germany and Switzerland for their games. Romania also caused an upset in Group 6, drawing against Hungary and knocking out Austria to make their World Cup debut. The Basque Country dominated Group 7 against other Iberian teams to achieve their debut.

    Americas Zone


    Group 8​

    Argentina 4-1 Chile
    Uruguay 8-1 Paraguay
    Argentina 5-0 Paraguay
    Chile 2-2 Uruguay
    Uruguay 4-2 Argentina
    Paraguay 2-0 Chile

    Group 9A​

    Bahia 0-0 Rio de Janeiro
    São Paulo 3-1 Bahia
    São Paulo 5-2 Rio de Janeiro

    Group 9B​

    Paraíba 6-0 British Guiana
    Pará 4-1 British Guiana
    Paraíba 2-0 Pará

    Group 10​

    United States 7-1 Jamaica
    Canada 3-2 Quebec
    United States 0-0 Quebec
    Jamaica 1-1 Canada
    Canada 2-1 United States
    Jamaica 0-0 Quebec

    Group 11​

    Mexico 18-0 Barbados
    Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 Haiti
    Mexico 4-0 Trinidad and Tobago
    Haiti 5-1 Barbados
    Mexico 6-2 Haiti
    Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 Barbados

    Paraíba defeated veterans São Paulo in the play-off to qualify for their first World Cup, Canada beat out the United States in Group 10 to make their return to the Cup, and, although they couldn’t qualify, Trinidad and Tobago had a good performance in Group 11.

    Rest of the World Zone


    Group 12A​

    Mysore 3-0 Bombay
    Bengal 0-0 Mysore
    Bengal 7-1 Bombay

    Group 12B​

    Philippines 5-1 Singapore
    Singapore 1-0 Hong Kong
    Hong Kong 2-1 Philippines

    Group 13​

    Cape 4-3 Orange Free State
    Natalia 1-1 Transvaal
    Cape 2-2 Natalia
    Orange Free State 3-0 Transvaal
    Cape 3-1 Transvaal
    Natalia 5-2 Orange Free State

    Group 14A​

    New South Wales 2-0 Western Australia
    South Australia 1-1 Queensland
    New South Wales 6-2 South Australia
    Western Australia 3-0 Queensland
    Queensland 1-1 New South Wales
    Western Australia 11-0 South Australia

    Group 14B​

    Victoria 5-0 Tasmania
    New Zealand 4-2 Tasmania
    New Zealand 2-1 Victoria

    The Philippines beat out Mysore to reach their first World Cup, as veterans Hong Kong and Bengal had poor performances, The Cape barely succeeded over Natalia to become the first African team in the World’s premiere football tournament and New South Wales would get to the tournament once again over New Zealand.
    Last edited:
    The 1910 England World Cup of Football – Group Stage
  • The 1910 England World Cup of Football – Group Stage​

    Like in the previous World Cups, the draw was completely random, save for hosts and reigning champions England. The groups were set to play in different geographic areas, with Group 1 playing throughout London, Group 2 playing in Liverpool, Group 3 playing in Manchester and Group 4 playing in Sheffield.
    • Group 1: England, Hungary, Denmark, Basque Country, Cape
    • Group 2: Romania, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Argentina
    • Group 3: Sweden, Switzerland, Scotland, Philippines, New South Wales
    • Group 4: Mexico, Uruguay, Cornwall, Paraíba, France

    Group 1​

    Hungary 4-0 Cape
    Denmark 7-2 Basque Country
    England 3-1 Cape
    Denmark 6-1 Hungary
    Basque Country 1-1 England
    Denmark 15-0 Cape
    Denmark 5-1 England
    Basque Country 2-1 Hungary
    England 1-0 Hungary
    Basque Country 4-2 Cape

    Denmark advanced comfortably from their group, scoring the largest margin of victory in World Cup history against the Cape 15-0. Hosts England barely managed to beat out the Basque with a 0.04 difference in goal average, while Hungary had a surprisingly poor performance losing all of their games except for the one against minnows the Cape.

    Group 2​

    Argentina 1-0 Netherlands
    Germany 1-1 Canada
    Romania 3-2 Argentina
    Netherlands 4-1 Canada
    Germany 1-1 Romania
    Argentina 2-0 Canada
    Romania 2-1 Canada
    Netherlands 3-0 Germany
    Romania 3-3 Netherlands
    Argentina 5-1 Germany

    Romania would continue their streak of shocking results by defeating Argentina and coming out of their group unbeaten, but in 2nd place due to goal average. The Netherlands crashed out despite only losing one game, and Germany and Canada had poor showings not winning a single match.

    Group 3​

    New South Wales 1-1 Switzerland
    Scotland 6-0 Philippines
    Sweden 4-0 New South Wales
    Switzerland 3-2 Scotland
    Sweden 15-1 Philippines
    Scotland 0-0 New South Wales
    Scotland 2-0 Sweden
    Switzerland 8-0 Philippines
    Sweden 4-1 Switzerland
    New South Wales 3-0 Philippines

    Sweden and Scotland would once again advance to the knockout stages, with Scotland barely edging out Switzerland on goal average. Despite losing, New South Wales had a surprisingly good performance, amassing 4 points. Sweden almost equalled Denmark’s 15-0 scoreline against the Philippines, but the Filipinos managed one goal in to make the margin 14-0.

    Group 4​

    Uruguay 3-1 France
    Paraíba 4-2 Cornwall
    France 1-0 Mexico
    Uruguay 2-1 Cornwall
    Paraíba 0-0 Mexico
    Cornwall 2-0 France
    Cornwall 5-0 Mexico
    Uruguay 7-3 Paraíba
    Mexico 1-0 Uruguay
    France 0-0 Paraíba

    This group was the only group out of the 4 where all teams won one match. Uruguay had a nightmarish loss to Mexico but still topped the group, while Cornwall and Paraíba surprised everyone by finishing above World Cup finalists France, knocking them out. Cornwall advanced on goal average.

    Like always, 8 teams advanced to the quarter-finals. These quarter-finals would become infamous in the history of FIFA due to a particular incident in the Uruguay v Romania match.
    The 1910 England World Cup of Football – Knockout Stage
  • The 1910 England World Cup of Football – Knockout Stage​

    The details of quarter-final matches in this early World Cup are more well-documented due to the 1910 edition’s historical importance.

    The unstoppable force that was the Danish team was about to strike the Scottish, and it wouldn’t be pretty. The Scotland that won the World Cup just 4 years ago in 1906 was completely missing, as the Danes put 4 past their net and the Scotsmen had barely any chance to retaliate. Done and dusted with, the Scots made the short trip back home as the Scandinavians advanced to their first semi-finals.

    Argentina’s troubles with underdogs continued in their quarter-finals match against Cornwall, in with the Cornishmen got ahead early on in the match with a 1-0 lead. However, the Argentines would begin to turn the match around by equalizing, but, try as they might, they couldn’t score again. Many noted that the Argentine team were not at their best, exhausted from 3 separate World Cups of having to do most of their pre-tournament training on boats, some of the players getting seasick and overall not enjoying the experience of having to play to eventually lose and try for bronze once again. Therefore, some theorize that they allowed a second Cornish goal for their own sake, and by full-time the Argentines simply went to their hotel and rested.

    Sweden and England faced each other once more, and the Swedes couldn’t shake off their troubles against them. The 8-0 loss against the Great Britain combination had given them quite the scare, so their squad was engineered to take the English down. This was the Three Lions’ home turf though, and that was clear on the pitch. The Swedes got the head start by scoring a goal near the end of the first half, but in the second half England would come around and put 3 past them, knocking the Nordics out of the Cup.

    And then, the fated Uruguay vs. Romania match-up. As the Orientals kicked off, the ball was pelted straight into their own net. Kick-off again, another own goal. Then another. This continued until Uruguay were “losing” 10-0 against the Romanians, who could only watch as the scoreline went up. FIFA officials intervened and put a stop to the match, declaring it a forfeit by Uruguay and automatically granting the victory to Romania, changing the score to the standard awarded 2-0 forfeit win.

    There were multiple reasons for this protest. The Uruguayans were fed up with having to travel via boat and being unable to train properly in the lead-up to the Cup, as it had always been in Europe. The competition format was cumbersome and unforgiving, as they had to play 4 matches in the group stage despite them being basically through by the third, and the stage could not prepare teams for what the knockout stage would be like. They also found the qualifiers to be needless, as Chile and Paraguay were low-quality teams, but they had to play them multiple times despite their qualification being guaranteed both times. The random draw was also criticised, as they claimed it created incredibly unbalanced groups. In this protest, they were backed by most associations that weren’t from Europe, like their fellows in the Americas Zone and the Rest of the World Zone.

    Some trouble had been brewing at FIFA for a while, as many nations weren’t receiving many official fixtures from the federation that didn’t relate to the World Cup or its qualifiers, meaning that some teams would play only 2 or 3 official matches during the year. European associations had their own grievances with the World Cup, especially when it came to the allocation of berths, as, besides Argentina and Uruguay, the knockout stages were always entirely European. They proposed scaling down the berths for the Rest of the World Zone to 2 and the Americas Zone to 3, with Europe receiving 15 berths. Others called for an expansion to 24 teams, which would have 4-team groups instead of 5-team groups, and the best 3rd-place teams would qualify for a 16-team knockout round.

    This matter would have to be resolved after the end of the then ongoing World Cup.

    As really lucky underdogs, Cornwall had reached their absolute limit. They were going up against massive favourites Denmark, who had demolished every other team before them. The Cornish were no exception. 3 goals from Denmark in the first half would seal their fate, although they did try to come back with one lonely goal, but the Scandinavians widened the gap with 2 more goals. 5-1. The worst thrashing in World Cup semi-final history at that point.

    England came to their semi-final with a lot of confidence. Romania had gotten to this point by being the lucky team that Uruguay made their protest in their match against. That confidence from both local fans and the England national team faded as Romania scored the first goal of the match in the 20th minute. The England team followed that up with a frenzy of attempts at goal, none of them succeeding. One of these attempts led directly to a counter-attack from Romania, making it 2-0. The entire second half was goal-less, and by full-time it had settled in: England was out, and Romania was in the final. The Romanians would celebrate their win in a stadium full of angry Englishmen cursing at both the Romanians and their own national team.

    The English contingent found the third-place match worthless, so they put on their backup team to see how they would do against the Cornish. Big mistake, as they wasted their shot at the bronze medal against a Cornish team that was laser-focused on victory. The black-and-whites won 2-0, and celebrated their bronze medal as if they had won the Cup itself.

    The final. It was an odd one, as neither team was seen as particularly good until recent events. It wouldn’t be a day to forget for either nation. The final kicked off, and, after a tense 18 minutes, the Danish swerved around the Romanians to score a goal in a goalkeeper-less net. Romania tried to use the kick-off to their advantage to make a counter-attack, but they failed. All throughout the first half, the Scandinavians dominated, though they couldn’t put another past the Romanian defence.

    That was, until, the 57th minute, where Denmark would widen the gap by scoring another goal. And then, shortly afterwards, another. 3-0. The underdogs were hoping for a comeback, something to remedy this heavy loss, but they weren’t up to it. Denmark were simply too good.


    Denmark are World Champions!
    The 1910 England World Cup of Football – Aftermath
  • The 1910 England World Cup of Football – Aftermath​

    The Danish celebrated their win to the small crowd of polite Danes that had made the trip to watch the final. The local English fans were peeved at Cornwall’s loss, and, for the first time, the World Cup would be leaving the United Kingdom. Despite the Cup’s financial success, these celebrations would be cut short due to previously mentioned issues. As was tradition, a few national teams stuck around to play friendlies against local First Division clubs, namely the Cape, Canada, New South Wales, the Philippines, Paraíba and Mexico.

    Cape 3-0 Bradford City
    Cape 1-5 Liverpool
    Cape 1-4 Aston Villa
    Canada 2-2 Notts County
    Canada 1-3 Sunderland
    Canada 2-0 Chelsea
    New South Wales 0-5 Newcastle United
    New South Wales 1-1 Preston North End
    New South Wales 3-3 Sheffield United
    Philippines 0-10 Middlesbrough
    Philippines 0-0 Nottingham Forest
    Philippines 2-6 Manchester United
    Paraíba 3-1 Everton
    Paraíba 4-0 Blackburn Rovers
    Paraíba 9-0 Bury
    Mexico 1-0 The Wednesday
    Mexico 7-2 Woolwich Arsenal
    Mexico 2-1 Bristol City

    A FIFA meeting was called a month after the World Cup to remedy the issues brought up during Uruguay’s protest. The federation was split between multiple camps, and the meeting frequently devolved into senseless arguing. There was one complaint all camps could agree on, though, and that was the lack of fixtures not relating to the World Cup. There was plenty of space for them to add more in the calendar, after all. Then, the Swiss delegate proposed the idea to hold continental tournaments in the years between World Cups, held during roughly the same time period of May-June, with qualifiers being held during the rest of June and July, and in certain “international break weeks” throughout the rest of the middle year and the early part of the World Cup year. This idea was well-liked at the meeting, and it was put up to a vote. There were 56 delegations present, and the vote passed 45-11.

    The three existing zones that had first been used in the 1910 World Cup’s qualifiers (Europe Zone, Americas Zone, Rest of the World Zone) were tweaked:
    • The Europe Zone would remain unchanged.
    • The Americas Zone would be split into two: the South America Zone and the North America Zone.
    • The Rest of the World Zone would be split into three: the Africa Zone, the Asia Zone and the Australasia Zone.
    These zones would host their own tournaments, regulated and organised directly by FIFA, during the years where there was no World Cup. The first Zone tournaments would be first held following the 1912 World Cup, to include any new members during this period in the first editions of these tournaments. The issues with the current World Cup format were not sorted out in this meeting, and discussion on them was postponed to 1911.
    1910, 1911 and 1912 – Slight Turbulence
  • 1910, 1911 and 1912 – Slight Turbulence​

    The pace at which FIFA was gaining new members was quite steady. There was an influx of regional associations originating from Spain as proper footballing competitions were set up all over the country. The following associations joined the organisation during this time:
    • Andalusia
    • Aragon
    • Cantabria
    • Castile
    • China
    • Croatia-Slavonia
    • Galicia and Lodomeria
    • Hyderabad
    • Iceland
    • Japan
    • Jutland
    • León
    • Liberia
    • Madras
    • Portugal
    • Punjab
    • Russia
    • Styria
    • United Provinces (Agra and Oudh)
    • Valencia
    The Styria Football Association (formerly the German Alpine Football Association) was a special case, as they had split off from the Austrian Football Association due to lack of local and international representation outside of Lower Austria. They changed their name as they also represented the Slovenes in the region.

    In January 1911, another FIFA meeting was called to discuss the World Cup format. The allocation of groups in qualifiers and the randomness of the World Cup draw were criticised, so a new system was proposed: the seeding of teams into pots based on perceived skill level from previous performances. This type of draw would be used for the World Cup, its qualifiers and the upcoming continental competitions. It was put up to a vote, and the vote passed.

    Then, the World Cup format was discussed. 5 team groups were considered too big and had too many dead rubber matches, so they would be cut down into groups of 4. However, the number of teams in the tournament would be expanded to 24, to make qualifying slightly less monstrously difficult. These 24 teams would be split into 6 groups, where the top 2 teams and the 4 best-ranked 3rd-place teams advanced to an expanded 16-team knockout round. In addition, due to previous failures from champions to defend their titles, automatic qualification for the winners would no longer be given out, with only the host nation automatically qualifying from then on.

    The last issue that was discussed was who would host the next World Cup. Due to complaints from nations outside of Europe, only nations outside of the Europe Zone were allowed to apply for hosts. Uruguay, the Eastern United States and the 6 Australian associations applied, and the Eastern United States were picked due to their closer position to Europe. This was slightly controversial, as the United States weren’t known for being very good at football, but most didn’t find any issue with this.

    With these issues sorted, now all that was left to do was try to decrease the disparity between the best and the worst teams, to prevent ridiculous blowouts like the Denmark 15-0 Cape match in the most recent World Cup. This would take a long time and a lot of time and money that neither FIFA nor the associations had, so a potential development program would be postponed.

    When the news of the United States hosting the World Cup in the East Coast hit, many in the country that had never heard of or weren’t interested in football before began paying attention to the sport. This uptick in interest led to new members to the regional associations and expanded leagues, and even the formation of a national league, albeit mostly confined to the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions. The regional associations of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont would join forces to create a united New England Football Federation, applying to and joining FIFA. The remaining regional associations in the Mid-Atlantic would essentially be the United States team that would participate in the upcoming World Cup.
    The 1912 United States World Cup of Football – Qualifiers Draw
  • The 1912 United States World Cup of Football – Qualifiers Draw​

    The 1912 World Cup qualifiers would begin in July 1911. This would be the first test of the new qualification system. The Europe Zone would play nine 5-team groups, with the best of each group and the 5 best-ranked 2nd place teams qualifying. The South America Zone would play two 5-team groups with the top 2 teams in each group qualifying. North America would play two 4-team groups with the best team in each group qualifying. Asia would play two 6-team groups with the best team in each advancing to a play-off for qualification. Africa would play one 5-team group and Oceania would play one 7-team group, with the best teams in both qualifying.

    These were the pots used in the draws:

    And these were the results of the draw:
    • Group 1: Switzerland, France, Finland, Alderney, Iceland
    • Group 2: England, Austria, Norway, Luxembourg, Cantabria
    • Group 3: Basque Country, Germany, Jersey, Isle of Man, Styria
    • Group 4: Romania, Wales, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Castile
    • Group 5: Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Malta, León
    • Group 6: Scotland, Catalonia, Galicia, Russia, Valencia
    • Group 7: Sweden, Leinster, Ireland, Portugal, Galicia-Lodomeria
    • Group 8: Cornwall, Toledo-La Mancha, Bohemia, Croatia-Slavonia, Andalusia
    • Group 9: Denmark, Belgium, Munster, Jutland, Aragon
    • Group 10: Uruguay, São Paulo, Pará, Rio de Janeiro, British Guiana
    • Group 11: Argentina, Paraíba, Paraguay, Chile, Bahia
    • Group 12: Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados
    • Group 13: Mexico, Haiti, Quebec, New England
    • Group 14: Mysore, Bengal, Bombay, China, Hyderabad, Punjab
    • Group 15: Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Madras, United Provinces
    • Group 16: Cape, Transvaal, Natalia, Orange Free State, Liberia
    • Group 17: New South Wales, New Zealand, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania
    Last edited:
    The 1912 United States World Cup of Football – Qualifiers Results
  • The 1912 United States World Cup of Football – Qualifiers Results​

    Europe Zone​


    Group 1​

    France 4-0 Iceland
    Finland 25-0 Alderney
    Switzerland 2-0 Iceland
    France 4-2 Finland
    Switzerland 17-0 Alderney
    Finland 1-0 Iceland
    France 19-0 Alderney
    Switzerland 0-0 Finland
    France 3-1 Switzerland
    Iceland 8-0 Alderney

    Group 2​

    Cantabria 2-2 Austria
    Norway 5-0 Luxembourg
    England 3-0 Cantabria
    Austria 1-1 Norway
    England 7-2 Luxembourg
    Norway 2-1 Cantabria
    England 4-1 Norway
    Austria 8-0 Luxembourg
    Austria 0-0 England
    Cantabria 6-1 Luxembourg

    Group 3​

    Styria 0-0 Germany
    Isle of Man 3-1 Jersey
    Basque Country 2-1 Styria
    Germany 10-1 Jersey
    Basque Country 9-0 Isle of Man
    Styria 6-0 Jersey
    Basque Country 14-0 Jersey
    Germany 7-1 Isle of Man
    Basque Country 3-1 Germany
    Styria 8-0 Isle of Man

    Group 4​

    Wales 2-1 Castile
    Gibraltar 5-1 Guernsey
    Romania 2-0 Castile
    Wales 12-0 Guernsey
    Romania 4-0 Gibraltar
    Castile 6-1 Guernsey
    Romania 15-0 Guernsey
    Wales 8-2 Gibraltar
    Wales 3-3 Romania
    Castile 0-0 Gibraltar

    Group 5​

    Hungary 3-0 León
    Italy 6-2 Malta
    Netherlands 1-0 León
    Italy 3-2 Hungary
    Netherlands 5-0 Malta
    León 2-0 Italy
    Netherlands 3-1 Italy
    Hungary 7-0 Malta
    Netherlands 2-0 Hungary
    León 5-0 Malta

    Group 6​

    Catalonia 3-0 Valencia
    Galicia 5-2 Russia
    Scotland 1-1 Valencia
    Catalonia 0-0 Galicia
    Scotland 2-0 Russia
    Valencia 4-0 Galicia
    Scotland 2-1 Galicia
    Russia 1-0 Catalonia
    Catalonia 2-2 Scotland

    Group 7​

    Leinster 1-0 Galicia-Lodomeria
    Portugal 3-1 Ireland
    Sweden 4-1 Galicia-Lodomeria
    Ireland 2-0 Leinster
    Sweden 6-1 Portugal
    Ireland 3-0 Galicia-Lodomeria
    Sweden 2-2 Ireland
    Leinster 1-0 Portugal
    Sweden 2-0 Leinster
    Galicia-Lodomeria 0-0 Portugal

    Group 8​

    Toledo-La Mancha 8-1 Andalusia
    Bohemia 3-1 Croatia-Slavonia
    Cornwall 2-0 Andalusia
    Bohemia 4-2 Toledo-La Mancha
    Croatia-Slavonia 1-1 Cornwall
    Bohemia 0-0 Andalusia
    Cornwall 0-0 Bohemia
    Toledo-La Mancha 2-1 Croatia-Slavonia
    Cornwall 3-0 Toledo-La Mancha
    Croatia-Slavonia 2-0 Andalusia

    Group 9​

    Belgium 1-0 Aragon
    Jutland 5-1 Munster
    Denmark 6-0 Aragon
    Munster 2-1 Belgium
    Denmark 7-4 Jutland
    Aragon 2-0 Munster
    Denmark 8-0 Munster
    Jutland 2-2 Belgium
    Denmark 9-0 Belgium
    Jutland 3-0 Aragon

    Finland and Styria would make their World Cup debut. Bohemia would return to the World Cup for the second time after their first appearance back in 1906. Veterans Hungary, Switzerland and Germany shockingly exited during this stage.

    South America Zone​


    Group 10​

    São Paulo 6-0 British Guiana
    Rio de Janeiro 4-3 Pará
    Uruguay 11-0 British Guiana
    São Paulo 2-2 Pará
    Uruguay 4-0 Rio de Janeiro
    Pará 5-1 British Guiana
    Uruguay 0-0 Pará
    São Paulo 2-1 Rio de Janeiro
    Uruguay 3-1 São Paulo
    Rio de Janeiro 7-0 British Guiana

    Group 11​

    Bahia 2-0 Paraíba
    Chile 1-1 Paraguay
    Argentina 2-0 Bahia
    Paraíba 0-0 Paraguay
    Argentina 3-1 Chile
    Bahia 3-2 Paraguay
    Argentina 0-0 Paraguay
    Chile 4-0 Paraíba
    Argentina 2-1 Paraíba
    Bahia 5-0 Chile

    Bahia would make its World Cup debut. Paraíba had a surprisingly poor performance, crashing out with 1 point and 0 wins.

    North America Zone​


    Group 12​

    Canada 4-1 Barbados
    Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 Jamaica
    Canada 1-1 Jamaica
    Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 Barbados
    Canada 5-0 Trinidad and Tobago
    Jamaica 2-1 Barbados

    Group 13​

    New England 3-0 Mexico
    Haiti 3-1 Quebec
    Mexico 1-1 Quebec
    New England 0-0 Haiti
    Mexico 4-0 Haiti
    Quebec 2-1 New England

    New England would make its World Cup debut at the expense of veterans Mexico in an incredibly equal group.

    Asia Zone​


    Group 14​

    Punjab 1-1 Mysore
    Hyderabad 2-0 Bengal
    China 11-0 Bombay
    Mysore 2-2 Hyderabad
    China 8-0 Punjab
    Bengal 2-1 Bombay
    China 6-0 Mysore
    Bombay 3-1 Hyderabad
    Bengal 0-0 Punjab
    Mysore 4-2 Bombay
    China 9-0 Bengal
    Hyderabad 2-0 Punjab
    Bengal 1-1 Mysore
    Punjab 1-0 Bombay
    China 4-0 Hyderabad

    Group 15​

    United Provinces 0-0 Philippines
    Hong Kong 4-3 Madras
    Japan 5-0 Singapore
    Madras 3-0 Philippines
    Japan 7-0 United Provinces
    Hong Kong 4-1 Singapore
    Japan 6-1 Philippines
    Madras 5-2 Singapore
    Hong Kong 2-2 United Provinces
    Philippines 2-1 Singapore
    Japan 4-2 Hong Kong
    Madras 1-1 United Provinces
    Hong Kong 2-1 Philippines
    United Provinces 3-2 Singapore
    Japan 3-0 Madras

    China would make its World Cup debut after stomping everyone in their group and Japan without conceding a single goal.

    Africa Zone​


    Group 16​

    Transvaal 3-0 Liberia
    Orange Free State 2-2 Natalia
    Cape 6-2 Liberia
    Natalia 3-0 Transvaal
    Cape 3-2 Orange Free State
    Natalia 4-1 Liberia
    Natalia 1-0 Cape
    Orange Free State 2-1 Transvaal
    Cape 7-1 Transvaal
    Orange Free State 2-0 Liberia

    Natalia would make its World Cup debut ahead of veterans the Cape.

    Australasia Zone​


    Group 17​

    New Zealand 7-2 Tasmania
    South Australia 0-0 Queensland
    Victoria 3-2 Western Australia
    New South Wales 8-0 Tasmania
    New Zealand 1-1 Western Australia
    Queensland 2-0 Victoria
    New South Wales 4-1 South Australia
    Western Australia 5-1 Tasmania
    New Zealand 3-0 Queensland
    New South Wales 0-0 Western Australia
    Victoria 2-1 South Australia
    Queensland 6-0 Tasmania
    Victoria 2-2 New South Wales
    Western Australia 3-1 Queensland
    New Zealand 3-0 South Australia
    New South Wales 2-1 Queensland
    New Zealand 4-0 Victoria
    South Australia 7-1 Tasmania
    New Zealand 1-1 New South Wales
    Victoria 9-0 Tasmania
    Western Australia 8-3 South Australia

    New Zealand would make its World Cup debut over veterans New South Wales. This zone showed the most improvement across the board (with the exception of Tasmania), as the previously dominant NSW was knocked out with 3 victories and 3 draws.