Which countries have never qualified for World Cup? List of national teams that have always missed men's FIFA tournament – Sporting News

A place at the World Cup is the high point of an international career but the dream remains unfulfilled for hundreds of national teams ahead of this year’s men’s competition in Qatar.
Continental qualification requires national sides to battle past their neighbours to secure a World Cup spot with FIFA coming in for regular criticism based on their structures for the men’s competition.
Despite the expansion to 32 teams – and the impending increase to 48 in 2026 – some nations find themselves in a near impossible situation to try and qualify.
A World Cup provides a chance to watch the best footballers on the planet push for a major title, but the list of nations yet to reach the competition, far outweighs those who have done so.
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UEFA and CONEMBOL have traditionally dominated World Cup qualification with the former granted 13 qualifying spots for the 2022 competition.
Despite the changes in routes to the World Cup, the established order has not changed significantly in recent years, with only four tournament debuts since 2006.
In total there are 134 countries who have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup.
Source: WorldAtlas.com
Population size is not a guarantee of World Cup qualification with 2022 hosts Qatar setting a new record as the smallest nation to stage the competition with a population of an estimated 2.8 million.
Some of the most populated countries on Earth have never reached a World Cup with qualification often concentrated within certain global areas.
China’s appearance at the 2002 World Cup was their sole qualification, proving that weight of numbers doesn’t always translate into sporting success.
The below countries are all still waiting to grace the World Cup stage:
Source: www.worldpopulationreview.com
On the flip side to billions of fans never seeing their national teams at a World Cup, lucky thousands of some of the smallest nations have enjoyed a World Cup dream, particularly since 2000.
Iceland’s iconic trip to the 2018 World Cup in Russia broke new ground as they set new record as the smallest ever World Cup nation.


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