Friday, June 5, 2009

New record for Spain?

European champions Spain are on the verge of a place in FIFA’s record books: should the Iberians avoid defeat in their friendly against Azerbaijan in Baku on 9 June, they will have notched up an unprecedented run of 32 consecutive games without defeat.

Their run began on 7 February 2007 with a 1-0 victory over England at Old Trafford, almost three months after their last defeat, to Romania in Cadiz. Spain currently hold the record with two other teams. Argentina were unbeaten for 31 matches between February 1991 and August 1993, as were the legendary Hungarians from the 1950s whose run came to a rather surprising end in the 1954 World Cup final and the (German) “miracle of Berne”.

If Spain avoid defeat in Azerbaijan and then also survive the group stage of the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa (against New Zealand , Iraq and South Africa ) unscathed, they will equal another record. Not counting defeats after penalty shoot-outs, Brazil went 35 matches unbeaten between 1993 and 1996 (from a statistical point of view, defeats and victories in penalty shoot-outs are classed as draws). Spain are therefore well on course to raise the bar even higher.

Longest run without a defeat:

Brazil 35 matches: December 1993 to January 1996*

Spain 31 matches: February 2007 to June 2009

Argentina 31 matches: February 1991 to August 1993

Hungary 31 matches: June 1950 to July 1954

Other confederations:

Asia Republic Korea – 28 matches: May 1978 to March 1979

Africa Ghana – 27 matches: November 1980 to June 1983

CONCACAF Jamaica – 22 matches: May 1997 to February 1998**

Oceania New Zealand – 13 matches: August 1983 to November 1985***


* including the final of the Copa América 1995 against Uruguay , which Brazil lost on a penalty shoot-out.

** including the match against Trinidad and Tobago in 1997, which Jamaica lost on a penalty shoot-out. Longest perfect record in CONCACAF: Mexico , 20 matches, 2004-2005.

*** Australia (OFC member until 2006, now AFC) were undefeated for 20 matches in 1996-1997.


  1. Dear Joe,

    Very interesting stats and nice to read your views, keep it up


  2. Dear Joe,

    Happy 27 years of journalism and many years more on the blog.

    1st of June, 2009.