Qualifying shocks! 🖐 of the biggest teams to miss a World Cup | OneFootball

Qualifying shocks! 🖐 of the biggest teams to miss a World Cup

Logo: OneFootball


Joel Sanderson-Murray

The last two winners of the European Championships, Portugal and Italy, will have to go through the play-offs to book their place at the 2022 World Cup.

Only three of the 12 play-off teams will make it and one of the big names missing out wouldn’t be the first time a major footballing nation has missed the World Cup.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest shocks from down the years.

Argentina (1970)

Argentina have only missed one World Cup as chaos reigned in their attempt to qualify for 1970.

There were four different managers in three years, defeats to Peru and Bolivia and a 2-2 draw against the former in the final group game when a win would have been enough. They were to do a little better eight years later, winning the tournament for the first time.

England (1994)

England have only failed to qualify for the tournament three times in their history and they made a real mess of their 1994 qualification campaign.

They took just one win from their four games with Poland and Norway, finished third, and — believe it or not — even conceded against San Marino in the final group game.

Netherlands (2002)

The Dutch had made the semi-finals four years earlier but a team filled with the talents of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Frank de Boer and Edwin Van Der Sar failed to make it to Japan and South Korea.

The Netherlands failed to beat Portugal and Ireland both home and away and missed out on qualification by four points.

USA (2018)

It might appear strange that the USA are on this list considering their standing in the game but their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was incredibly unexpected.

But Bruce Arena’s side suffered a 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago meaning they missed out on the tournament for the first time since 1986. Considering four teams out of six progressed out of their group and that group consisted of Honduras and Panama then this has earned its place on the list.

Italy (2018)

It’s amazing to think that the European champions are at risk of missing out on the World Cup, it’s even more amazing to think it would be a second successive World Cup without the four-time winners.

Italy missed out on automatic qualification for 2018 with Spain taking top spot in the group (which was no great surprise) a but they then failed to score over two legs in the playoffs against Sweden meaning there would be no Italy at the tournament, a sight not seen since 1958.