Five Occasions when the Top Dog Teams Failed to Qualify for the FIFA World Cup

Some of the outcomes in the UEFA World Cup Qualification matches have shocked everyone.

Football World Cup is regarded as the biggest and most prestigious event in the world. Unlike every other competition, world cup is played once every four years and the winner is crowned the best team in the world. Those who shine in this tournament, create records which in return build a legacy for themselves when they retire from this beautiful game. To qualify for this event, 190 to 200 countries compete in UEFA World Cup Qualification matches which sees them book a spot for their team in the upcoming world cup event. This year, the world cup 2022 location was set in Qatar. Several heavyweight countries are always the major favourites to win the trophy, but over the course of its 90 year competition, some heavyweight teams even failed to qualify for the event.

Let’s take a look at those five occasions when the heavyweight teams failed to qualify for the biggest event in the world.

  1. Italy (2018)

    Italy Squad
    Italy Squad.

    The Azzurri must be getting affected by the Champions Curse ever since winning the trophy in 2006. They failed to qualify past the group stage in 2010 and 2014. However, they failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia for the 2018 edition of FIFA World Cup. Although they finished second position in their qualifying group. They lost 1-0 over two legs against Sweden which resulted in them being knocked out of the World Cup before even qualifying for the tournament. Their first ever absence since 1958

  2. Italy (2022)

    Italy Squad
    Italy failing to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

    After the disappointing run in the UEFA World Cup Qualifications of 2018, the fans expected the Italian giants to re-invent themselves for the 2022 World Cup. The expectations were higher because infamous former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini took over the Azzurri’s in 2018. To have the Italian giants establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Fans were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel when Italy won the European Championship in 2020.

    However, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022’s qualifying campaign saw them perform better as they finished second in their group. They were the favourites to go through against North Macedonia but right at the end of the match, they lost 1-0. North Macedonia lost to Portugal, giving way to Cristiano Ronaldo’s team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

  3. Netherlands (2018)

    Netherland Squad

    Netherlands is known for their inconsistent performances in the FIFA World Cups. But nobody could expected they wouldn’t even qualify for the biggest event in the world in 2018. They finished second in 2010 and secured a third place spot at the Brazil’s World Cup of 2014. In the UEFA World Cup Qualifications group, they were placed alongside France and Sweden. Tough opponents, but they were one of the teams everyone thought would qualify for the tournament in Russia. But, after a poor start of matches, they lost their spot on goal differences and failed to qualify. It felt a giant void seeing Italy and Netherlands miss the World Cup in 2018.

  4. England (1974)

    England Squad
    England Squad 1974

    The Three Lions became the world champions in 1966, the only time they lifted the trophy. A near 60 year gap is close to being created since England last won it. But, just 8 years later, England had a shocking qualifying campaign. Their previous record of performing in the event was fruitful as they reached quarter finals in 1962 and 1970 edition of the World Cup. Expectations were high for The Three Lions being the recent World Cup winners, but they failed to live up to the expectations of everyone. Back then, only the top team qualified for the next world cup. Teams coming in second or below would get eliminated. England came second in their group after amassing just four points out of a possible eight.

  5. Argentina (1970)

    Argentina Squad
    Argentina Squad 1970

    Argentina were the World Cup regulars before 1970. Their previous records show that Argentina were the finalists in the inaugural edition of the World Cup in 1930 but were beaten by Uruguay. Before 1970, they made it to the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup in 1966. However, for the 1970 World Cup qualification, their head coach stepped down two weeks before the FIFA World Cup qualification matches began. A new coach, unfamiliar tactical system and a poor morale overall resulted in Argentina losing two, drawing one and winning just one of their four matches in the round. It resulted in Argentina not qualifying for the FIFA World Cup.

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