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Interesting Facts
Erdinç Sivritepe

2006 World Cup


Most and Least Entries (1830-2002)

17 Most: Belgium, Brazil, France, Mexico, USA, Yugoslavia
0 least: Afghanistan - member since 1948

Same Country, Different Name

Because of the political changes at their countries, some nations entered the cups in different names for some competitions.

Benin as Dahomey in 1974
Burkina Faso as Upper Volta in 1978
Congo Democratic Republic as Zaire from 1970 to 1998
Czech Republic and Slovakia as Czechoslavakia from 1934 until 1994. They split in 1993 and completed the 1994 qualifiers as RCS - Representation of Czechs and Slovaks
Germany also as Saarland in 1954 and German Democratic Republic from 1958 until 1990 before uniting back again
Indonesia as Dutch East Indies as 1938
Ireland Republic as Irish Free States in 1934 and 1938
Israel as Palestine in 1934 and 1938
Myanmar as Burma in 1950
Netherlands Antilles as Curaçao in 1958
Russia as USSR from 1958 until 1994
Sri Lanka as Ceylon in 1974
Surinam as Dutch Guyana in 1938, 1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974
Vietnam SR also entered as South Vietnam in 1974 and 1978
Yemen entered as both North Yemen and South Yemen in 1986 and 1990
Serbia Montenegro as Kingdom of Serbia and Montenegro in 1930, 1934, and 1938 and as Yugoslavia in 1948 through 2002
Zimbabwe as Rhodesia in 1970.

Finals without Qualifications

Host countries and the defending champions qualify to the Finals automatically. However, there were some other countries qualified to the Finals because their opponents withdrew from the qualifiers and they qualified without playing any games.
The World Cup 1930 also was played without a qualification round.
The countries which qualified without playing qualifications are as follows:

-w denotes by withdrawals, -h by host, -c by champion.

Argentina (5 times): 1930, 1934-w, 1978-h, 1982-c, 1990-c
Belgium (1): 1930
Bolivia (2): 1930, 1950-w
Brazil (8): 1930, 1934-w, 1938-w, 1950-h, 1962-c, 1966-c, 1974-c, 1998-c
Chile (4): 1930, 1934-w, 1950-w, 1962-h
Cuba (1): 1938-w
Egypt (1): 1934-w
England (2): 1966-h, 1970-c
France (4): 1930, 1938-h, 1998-h, 2002-c
Germany (4): 1974-h, 1958-c, 1978-c, 1994-c, 2006-h
India (1): 1950-w
Italy (3): 1938-c, 1986-c, 1990-h
Japan (1): 2002-h
Korean Republic (1): 2002-h
Mexico (2): 1970-h, 1986-h
Paraguay (2): 1930, 1950-w
Peru (1): 1930
Romania (1): 1930
Spain (1): 1982-h
Uruguay (3): 1930, 1950-w, 1954-c
USA (2): 1930, 1994-h
Yugoslavia (1): 1930

Italy played the qualifiers in 1934 even though they were hosting the cup.
Uruguay did not use their free entry in 1934 as defending champions.

Refusals of Entries

FIFA did not allow some countries to enter the World Cups for several reasons. These are the countries:

Albania - 1970
Belize - 1990
Bolivia - 1954
French Congo(Congo) - 1966
Zaire(Congo DR) - 1970
Costa Rica - 1954
Cuba - 1954, 1970
Ethiopia - 1957
Guatemala - 1966
Guinea - 1970
Iceland - 1954
Korean Republic - 1958
Mauritius - 1990
Mozambique - 1990
Spain - 1938
Vietnam SR - 1954


77 countries withdrew, disqualified, suspended, excluded, expelled for several reasons in 17 World Cups.
The most unusual withdrawal reason came from India in 1950. India have qualified to the finals without playing a game(opponents withdrew). However they withdrew from the Finals to protest FIFA since they forbid the players to play with bare feet.

Withdrawals from the Finals

Three countries withdrew from the Finals after qualifying in 1950: India, Scotland, Turkey.
FIFA offered Scotland and Turkey's entries to France and Portugal which were eliminated. They refused to play in the Finals as well.

Yugoslavia also refused to play the Third-Place game in 1930.

Second Chances

In 1958, no countries from Asia wanted to play Israel and Israel won the Asian group by default. However, FIFA asked Israel to play with one of the eliminated second teams from Europe. Belgium refused the offer and Israel played Wales. Wales beat Israel in both games and became the only country which qualified to the Finals after being eliminated earlier.

Sierra Leone also had a second chance in 1958. They lost to Burundi in the first round. Burundi withdrew before the second round due to the war in their country. FIFA decided that Sierra Leone should play in the second round replacing Burundi. They couldn't make the Finals and became the only country which were eliminated twice for the same cup.

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