We all know what’s going to happen at this summer’s Fifa World Cup in Russia: England will scrape through to the last 16 and go out on penalties to some awful team, while Germany, Brazil, Spain and all the other usual suspects battle it out for glory and a couple of hundred shirtless Englishmen chuck chairs at the Kremlin. Classic.
But there’s another World Cup taking place just days before that will be nothing if not surprising. And here’s the really good bit: it’s in London. Conifa is the Confederation of Independent Football Associations and they are bringing their World Cup of unrecognised nations to the UK for the first time. Want to watch Abkhazia take on Ellan Vannin? How about Matabeleland going toe to toe with Kárpátalja? Well, now, finally, you can.
The 16 competing teams are basically nations within nations – Székely Land is an ethnographic area in modern-day Romania, Kabylia is a region in Algeria and Tibet is… well, it’s Tibet, which is currently part of China.
And this is their chance to fight it out for footballing glory at some of England’s finest non-league football grounds. You can see games at places including Sutton, Haringey and Enfield, and tickets are a proper steal at just £10. It might not have the glitz and glamour, or the over-paid, over-coiffed pros that the Fifa World Cup has, but at least England won’t go out on penalties again.
Conifa starts Thu May 31 and runs until Jun 9. Tickets from £10. Full schedule at conifa.org
Still football crazy, football mad? Show some support for London’s lower-league football teams