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Friday, April 13, 2012

A look at the flag chasers

In February, Estonia announced they will be playing against France in a friendly scheduled for 5 June. They will thus become the first ever team to have played all 52 fellow European footballing nations (see article on fifa.com).

OK, so Estonia will be the first. Who was close? Are there any other teams that have achieved this feat in other confederations? Well, except CONMEBOL teams since they meet each other in every World Cup qualification campaign. Which team has the highest number of opponents?

In Europe, there are three teams with only 2 UEFA opponents missing from their list

Russia (Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro)
Romania (Kazakhstan and Malta)
Czech Republic (Georgia and Kazakhstan)

Here's the European top 10, with 7 teams tied for 10th place.

Opponents left to play against - Team

1 - Estonia
2 - Russia, Romania, Czech Republic
3 - Israel, Norway, Poland, Hungary, Germany
4 - Malta, Greece, Portugal, Wales, Bulgaria, Finland, Sweden

Asian Top 10

4 - China PR, Korea Republic
5 - Hong Kong, Thailand
6 - Bangladesh, Korea DPR, Iran, Singapore
7 - Sri Lanka, India, Kuwait

African Top 10

7 - Angola, Cameroon, Zambia
8 - Guinea
9 - Zimbabwe
10 - Gabon, Congo DR, Uganda, Senegal, Ghana, Tunisia

CONCACAF Top 10

4 - St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti
5 - Cuba
6 - Trinidad and Tobago
8 - Puerto Rico, Curacao, Jamaica
9 - Grenada, Barbados
10 - St. Lucia, Bermuda, Suriname

In Oceania, 5 teams have met all their OFC neighbors: Cook Islands, Tahiti, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji.

American Samoa and Tonga have to play against New Zealand.
Papua New Guinea - against New Caledonia.
New Caledonia - against Samoa and Papua Guinea.
Samoa - against New Caledonia and New Zealand.
New Zealand - against Samoa, Tonga and American Samoa.


Most teams outside own confederation

Unsurprisingly, Brazil top the list with 73 non-CONMEBOL opponents.

Brazil 73
Saudi Arabia 70
USA 67
Mexico 66
Korea Republic 65
Chile 64
Japan 63
China PR 62
Egypt 62
Canada 61
Uruguay 61

Most opponents

Saudi Arabia are top - they have played against 106 FIFA members. Korea Republic have the same number of opponents, but 250 matches more than Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia 106
Korea Republic 106
China PR 103
Egypt 103
Iran 99
Japan 98
Morocco 96
Tunisia 95
Sweden 87
Algeria 86
Norway 86

8 comments:

  1. How did you come by this information? I'd like to see about England, I'm surprised they aren't in that mix somewhere considering how long the national team has been around. Although I suppose the policy of almost never arranging friendlies against anything but at least top 50 in the World and usually top 30 has something to do with it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Might be cheating a bit, but Scotland have 51 European opponents if you count nations that no longer exist. :P

    CIS, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Ireland, Soviet Union, West Germany and Yugoslavia.

    Who would have the most if you count nations that no longer exist? Presumably Estonia might not be at the top anymore, as they would never have been able to play most of those nations?

    ReplyDelete
  3. You can't count these as separate, except East Germany and Saarland. Many countries have changed their names and borders but the FA's are the same. Israel played Burma and Ceylon but they now are Myanmar and Sri Lanka.. etc..

    I've the head to head tables on my website if you want to check all the teams.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Lorric

    England are missing 5 teams: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lithuania, Armenia, Latvia and Faroe Islands.

    I have a database with all "A" FIFA matches.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ Edgar

    Thanks, Edgar. Only five, eh?

    Well, they'll stay missing for a while.

    Lithuania are pure dross. I often hope England draw them, and hoped for them this time too. I've seen them in action a few times as they often draw Scotland, so I tune in if England's match isn't on, and they seem to have absolutely nothing special or even average by International standards about them, except for some mediocre ability to stifle a game. I also watched their failures against Liechtenstein, and they were outplayed, and didn't even have any urgency. Faroe Islands beat them the campaign before that. I'd love England to play Lithuania. You know it too, you set Armenia up with Lithuania, didn't you. Latvia are another team I often hope to draw, they also have become very weak. The others I'd rather avoid, they're on the rise. Even the Faroe Islands, I see them as one of the most tricky sides in the bottom pot, and they have a surprisingly strong record against British sides.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my! I just checked out the result of that friendly...

    Armenia lost 3-0, I'm surprised by that!

    Looked at some of the Lithuania results and there are lots of really bad ones, but also some surprising spoiler results too. Maybe I should be areful what I wish for... :)

    Still going to wish for them though. And I like their kit too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Who do the Rep of Ireland still have to play?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Slovenia, Ukraine.

    You'll meet Bosnia-Herzegovina tomorrow and Kazakhstan in September.

    ReplyDelete