In a win likely to inspire some celebratory gunfire this evening, South Ossetia on June 4 narrowly defeated its separatist sibling Abkhazia in a World Cup of soccer, and now will head to the semi-finals. No, not in that World Cup. In a championship in Sweden for breakaway territories, stateless peoples, micro-nations, and the like.
For the most part, the Caucasus breakaways have been doing well in the tournament. The South Ossetian team earlier destroyed Darfur United with a jaw-dropping 19 to 0 score, while the Abkhaz beat Lapland 2 to 1, and held even against Occitania, a fuzzy territorial concept that embraces parts of Italy and France.
Breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh, however, has been less successful, losing to teams from the Isle of Man and the long-dissolved Countea de Nissa.
South Ossetia's June-4 victory nearly didn't happen, however. It came via two penalty shots after a 0-0 finish against the Abkhaz in the championship's quarter-finals. Now, South Ossetia advances to the semi-finals.
But, you may ask, will anyone come to watch them play? A video posted on the ConiFA Facebook page showed an empty stadium. Yet the South Ossetian team gave no sign of that dampening their own "joy" from "playing international football." They were partying on.