Friday, May 20, 2022

FIFA World Cup qualification upsets: Top 5 shocking instances of top teams failing to make it

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Italy failing to qualify for the World Cup remains one of the biggest shocks of the year – even though we are only in March. Some of the favourites to make it to the competition have failed to qualify in previous years as well, and in this article, we take a look at the top five countries that failed to qualify for the tournament.

Top 5 teams that failed to qualify for the World Cup 

Argentina (1970) 

Eight years before their first-ever World Cup victory, Argentina failed to qualify for the competition. They had four different managers in three years and struggled to achieve a 2-2 draw against Peru to secure their spot. 

England (1994) 


The England team in 1994 endured a chaotic performance in the group stages. They were defeated by Poland and Norway and finished third in their group after conceding against San Marino. 

Netherlands (2002) 

The Netherlands team that failed to qualify consisted of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Frank de Boer and Edwin Van Der Sar. They made it to the semi-finals four years earlier but failed to make it to Japan and South Korea by four points. 

USA (2018) 

For the first time since 1986, the USMNT failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018. Four of six in their group were expected to progress, and with Honduras and Panama on the list, it was quite shocking when the USA missed out. 

Italy (2018 and 2022) 

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Italy missed out on the World Cup on either side of their Euro 2020 win. 2018 was the first time in over half a century that they failed to qualify. North Macedonia defeated the Azzurri in their qualifier semifinal to end their hopes of righting the wrongs of the past. 

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Arsh Das
Arsh Das
A music enthusiast, also passionate about football and bringing you the latest in the sporting world every day.


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