Remembering the Last Time 13 World Cup 'Regulars' Weren't Present at the Tournament

With World Cup regulars like Argentina, the Netherlands and United States all in need of positive results to make sure they reach the finals in Russia next summer, it's become more apparent than ever just how difficult qualifying for the tournament really is. With that in mind, here's a look back at the last time 13 regular participants at the World Cup missed out... It is fitting that Brazil are the only country in the history of the World Cup to have been present at every single tournament...

Brazil - Never

It is fitting that Brazil are the only country in the history of the World Cup to have been present at every single tournament going right the way back to the inaugural competition in 1930.

That exceptional record won't change for the five-time champions in 2018 either, with the Selecao comfortably topping the CONMEBOL qualifying section and securing their place in Russia with several games to spare.

Status in 2018: Qualified

Germany - 1950

Champions as recently as 2014, it has been close to 70 years since a World Cup has taken place without a German team. That was in 1950 when the divided country was banned from participating so soon after the conclusion of the Second World War.

The only other tournament Germany weren't at was in 1930, when they chose not to enter. It means that Germany have still never actually failed to qualify for a World Cup.

Status in 2018: Qualified

Italy - 1958

Having followed the example of many European nations and refused to enter in 1930, the 1958 World Cup remains the only time that Italy have failed to qualify for the tournament to date. 

With four titles to the their name, the Azzurri are the joint second most successful country in the history of the World Cup. Yet they haven't even made it past the group stage since their most recent triumph in 2006.

Status in 2018: 2nd in UEFA Group G but almost assured of at least a playoff place

England - 1994

England are another whose last failure to qualify for the World Cup came ahead of USA '94, losing out to Norway and the Netherlands under the guidance of the late Graham Taylor.

After refusing to enter the World Cup until after the Second World War, it remains only the third time that the Three Lion have actually failed to qualify. They have been no further than the World Cup quarter finals since 1990, though.

Status in 2018: Qualified

France - 1994

It was just four short years between France failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States and lifting the trophy on home in 1998.

In qualifying for 1994, a draw in the final game at home against Bulgaria would have been sufficient to see Les Bleus through. But a poor cross from David Ginola set up a Bulgarian counter attack in the final minute to send them to the finals at France's expense.

Status in 2018: One point clear at the top of UEFA Group A with two games remaining

Argentina - 1970

Argentina are in serious danger of missing out on a place at the World Cup for the first time since 1970, the only one that they have previously ever failed to qualify for.

Aside from 1970, La Albiceleste have only not been present at three World Cups in the competition's near 90-year history. Those came between 1938 and 1954 and Argentina's absence was as a result of withdrawing rather than falling short.

Status in 2018: 6th in CONMEBOL table with only one game left to play

Spain - 1974

Spain have been at every World Cup for more than 40 years, last missing out in 1974. La Roja had also missed out in 1970, didn't make it beyond the group stage in 1966 or 1962, and had previously failed to qualify in 1958 or 1954.

Despite being European champions as early as 1964, it was only in 2010 that Spain translated technical quality and potential into actual results on the global stage.

Status in 2018: Top of UEFA Group G and guaranteed at least a playoff place

Mexico - 1990

Present at the very first World Cup in 1930, only a handful of countries have ever been to more World Cups than Mexico's 15 - soon to be 16 when the finals kick off in Russia next summer. 

The last World Cup that didn't include a Mexican team came in 1990. That was as a result of the Cachirules scandal which saw them banned after overage players were used in qualifying for the 1989 FIFA Youth World Championship - a forerunner to the U-20 World Cup.

Status in 2018: Qualified

Portugal - 1998

Were Portugal and the generation of Cristiano Ronaldo to miss out on the World Cup next year it would come as a huge shock, but the nation has surprisingly only ever been to six tournaments before - 1966, 1986, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

Their first appearance saw Eusebio inspire the team to a third place finish, but Portugal then qualified just once more (1986) before 2002 when their current run of World Cups began.

Status in 2018: Second in UEFA Group B but guaranteed at least a playoff place

Netherlands - 2002

After coming within a penalty shootout of the 1998 final, the Netherlands didn't make the very next tournament in 2002 after losing out to Portugal and the Republic of Ireland in qualifying. 

Following the 'Total Football' era of the 1970s, the Dutch team also missed out on both tournaments in the 1980s and are at risk of not reaching Russia next summer as well.

Status in 2018: 3rd in UEFA Group A needing to finish at least 2nd to have any chance

United States - 1986

The United States finished third in the very first World Cup in 1930 and later famously shocked an over confident England team in the first round of the 1950 tournament.

It was then 40 years before the Americans returned to the global 'soccer' stage, but they haven't missed a single World Cup since, with 1986 still the last without the stars and stripes.

Status in 2018: 4th place in CONCACAF final round and on course for AFC playoff  

Uruguay - 2006

Two-time former winners and semi-finalists in 2010, Uruguay weren't at the World Cup as recently as 2006 when they failed to make it through the notorious CONMEBOL qualifying.

Uruguay's appearance at the 2002 tournament was their first since 1990, while they twice refused to participate in 1934 and 1938 in Europe as European nations had declined the invitation to play in Uruguay in the very first World Cup in 1930.

Status in 2018: 2nd in CONMEBOL standings with one game to play

South Korea - 1982

Having made their very first appearance in 1954, Asian heavyweights South Korea have been an ever-present at the World Cup since 1986 and it was 35 years ago when they last weren't at the finals.

The Taegeuk Warriors reached the semi-finals on home soil in 2002, defying all expectation and making legends of players like Park Ji-sung, Ahn Jung-hwan an Yoo Sang-chul.

Status in 2018: Qualified

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