Countries That Have Played At The FIFA World Cup But No Longer Exist

The FIFA World Cup is the biggest football tournament on earth, and it is the dream of every country to win it. While some countries have never even qualified for the tournament; some played at the World Cup but no longer exist.

In this article, FootballOrbit brings you 7 countries that have played at the FIFA World Cup but no longer exist.


Yugoslavia played at the FIFA World but no longer exist

Yugoslavia was an European country that existed between 1918 and 1992.

During its existence, it qualified for the FIFA World Cup eight times: 1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1974, 1982 and 1990.

It reached the semi-finals twice (1930 and 1962).

Yugoslavia’s name changed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, then FR Yugoslavia and later, Serbia and Montenegro. Serbia and Montenegro also separated in 2010.

From the former Yugoslavia; we also got Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia, North Macedonia and Kosovo.


Czechoslovakia no longer exist

Czechoslovakia was one of the most powerful countries in European football from 1920 to 1993.

FIFA once ranked it as the best team in the world. It qualified for 8 World Cups — reaching the final in 1934 and 1962.

Czechoslovakia won the European Championship in the 1976 — with Antonin Panenka famously creating the Panenka penalty in the final.

The country made its last World Cup appearance in 1990, before splitting into Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

Soviet Union

Soviet Union played at 7 FIFA World Cup tournaments

The Soviet Union was created a few years after the end of the first World War and existed until 1990.

When the Soviet Union broke up, 15 countries were formed namely:

Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The Soviet Union qualified for the FIFA World Cup seven times: 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1982, 1986 and 1990.

This means that during its existence, the Soviet Union failed to qualify for the World Cup only twice — 1974 and 1978.

Their best finish was 4th in 1966 when they lost 2-1 to West Germany in the semifinals.

Furthermore, the Soviet Union qualified for 5 European Championships, winning the inaugural competition in 1960 when they beat Yugoslavia in the final.

They won gold medal at the Olympics in 1956 and 1988.


Nicknamed the Leopards, Zaire won the AFCON twice and was the first Sub-Saharan African country to qualify for the FIFA World Cup (1974).

At the tournament itself, Zaire did not manage to score any goals and lost all of its games. Its 9-0 loss against Yugoslavia remains one of the worst World Cup defeats.

Moreso, a bizarre moment came in their match vs Brazil. Facing a free-kick 25 yards out, defender Mwepu Ilunga (upon hearing the referee blow his whistle) ran out of the Zaire wall and kicked the ball upfield — for which he received a yellow card.

Ilunga later stated that he deliberately did it to make the referee send him off.

The intended red card would have been a protest against his country’s authorities — who were allegedly depriving the players of their earnings.

Zaire later became the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Dutch East Indies

Dutch East Indies at the 1938 FIFA World Cup

The Dutch East Indies team existed from 1934 to 1945.

It appeared at only one World Cup (1938) and was the first ever Asian country to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

The 1938 World Cup was a knockout throughout, and the Dutch East Indies got knocked out in the first round after a heavy loss to Hungary.

The 6-0 loss to Hungary in the first round makes it the team with the fewest matches played (1) and one of the teams with the fewest goals scored (0) in World Cup history.

The Dutch East Indies is now known as Indonesia.

West Germany

West Germany played at several World Cups but no longer exist

Following the end of World War II, Germany was divided into rival West and East zones — each with their own football systems.

West Germany is one of the most successful teams in the history of football. It qualified for twelve World Cup tournaments: 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990.

Still struggling with being divided, West Germany stunned the world when it won the 1954 FIFA World Cup.

Furthermore, it also won the tournament in 1974 and 1990. It finished as runners-up in 1966, 1982 and 1986.

At its peak, the West German team — comprising exceptional young players — also dominated European club football with Bayern Munich.

The captain, Franz Beckenbauer, later led Germany to another title to become one of the few players who have won the World Cup as a player and as a manager.

West Germany played and won their last ever World Cup in 1990, after which the West and East teams merged under the name of Germany.

East Germany

The East Germany national football team — recognized as Germany DR by FIFA — existed from 1952 to 1990.

East Germany was not as successful as its Western counterpart in World Cups or European Championships.

It only qualified for one major tournament in its history, which was the 1974 World Cup. The tournament was hosted by West Germany.

Furthermore, both German teams were drawn in the same group in the first round.

With successful games against Chile and Australia, both German teams had qualified early for the second round.

Their match was set to determine first and second in group………

The match was politically and emotionally charged. At the end, East Germany defeated West Germany 1-0.

On the 3rd of October 1990, Germany was re-unified.

After reunification, players who had played for the East German team were allowed by FIFA to be eligible for the newly formed German team.

A total of 8 players got capped for both East Germany and unified Germany.

Unified Germany finished as runners-up in the 2002 World Cup and won the title in 2014.

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