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Karpatalja Wins Alternative World Cup Soccer Tournament

Karpatalja, which represents ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine, won the alternative CONIFA World Football Cup 2018 -- the event that features nations, minorities, isolated dependencies, and cultural regions not part of the official FIFA system.

Karpatalja on June 9 defeated Northern Cyprus 3-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw at London’s Donkey Lane grounds in front of several thousand spectators.

Karpatalja was a late replacement for Felvidek, which represents ethnic Hungarians in modern-day Slovakia, after it pulled out of the tournament.

Karpatalja reached the final by topping its group following victories over reigning champion Abkhazia 2-0 and Tibet 5-1.

Padania of Northern Italy finished in third place among the 16 teams by beating Szekely Land, which represents Hungarians in Romania, 5-4 -- also on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

The actual World Cup, the world’s most popular sporting event, begins on June 14 and runs through July 15 in Russia.

Based on reporting by AFP and The Guardian