Best 10 teams to miss World Cup ranked as Portugal face play-off

The qualification process for any major international tournament can be long and strenuous, and it can sometimes cause an upset as talented sides miss out against the odds.

Portugal surrendered their automatic qualification spot in the dying seconds of their clash against Serbia on Sunday night, and it was Aleksandar Mitrovic who headed home to leapfrog their opponents and send his side to Qatar.

The striker who missed the deciding penalty against Scotland in 2020 as Serbia failed to qualify for the European Championships, scored the all important goal to thwart Portugal and qualify for the World Cup, and now Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates face a play-off.

Portugal could be in danger of not making the competition at all despite boasting a star-studded squad spearheaded by the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and all time top international goalscorer.

With qualification in the balance, Daily Star Sport take a look at ten of the best teams throughout history that have failed to qualify for the World Cup…

France 1994

France were dominant throughout the late 90s, winning the World Cup in 1998 before adding the European Championships to their collection in 2000, but the French side of 1994 failed to qualify despite their depth of squad.

Laurent Blanc, Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly and Eric Cantona were just some of the names at their disposal, but they failed to qualify as Sweden and Bulgaria finished ahead of them in their group.

France were in the driving seat but a shock defeat to Israel turned up the heat for their final qualifier with Bulgaria, but the French were still rocked from the penultimate defeat and crumbled.

However, it turned out alright for France, with their domination coming later that decade.

England 1994

It wasn't just France that were absent for the 1994 World Cup, England were also notable absentees too.

England were in a qualifying group with Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Turkey and San Marino, with the top two progressing, but the Three Lions finished third and missed out.

Norway and Netherlands qualified, and England only took one point from a possible six against both sides home and away, which ultimately led to their downfall.

They had a squad that featured Alan Shearer, Ian Wright, Paul Gascoigne, David Platt, Paul Ince, Stuart Pearce and Les Ferdinand but still failed to gel and live up to their potential.

Can England win the World Cup in 2022? Let us know in the comments section.

Italy 2018

In what's been a strange few years for Italian football, outrage and disbelief flooded the nation as their side missed out on qualifying for the most recent World Cup.

Their failure marked the end of a streak that saw them appear in 14 consecutive World Cup tournaments, but it had been coming as the Italians failed to make it out of the group stage in both 2010 and 2014.

However, the failure has kicked Italy back into life, and they won the European Championships this summer without losing a single game.

Roberto Mancini's men are expected to go again next year after qualifying for Qatar 2022 top of their group.

Netherlands 2002

Another nation with a major yo-yo in success is the Netherlands, and this won't be the last time you'll see them on this list.

The Dutch are known for being football powerhouses and have held a famous history with the sport, but not always for the right reasons.

The Netherlands were drawn out of Pot 1 into a group which allowed for two teams to progress, and a Dutch side containing Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Clarence Seedorf, Mark Van Bommel, Patrick Kluivert, Frank De Boer, Edwin Van Der Sar, Marc Overmars, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst were nailed on to make it.

However, one point from two matches against Ireland meant that they missed out, finishing behind both Ireland and Portugal.

Argentina 1970

Argentina and Brazil have a rich history with the World Cup, and between the two of them have only ever failed to qualify for one tournament.

Despite the fact that disruption and off the field drama usually occurs across South America, chaos within the Argentinean federation and four managerial changes finally had an impact in 1970.

Argentina lost their opening two qualifying games to Peru and Bolivia. Argentina lost both, but still went into the final match with a chance to qualify.

However, a 2-2 draw at home against Peru stopped Argentina from qualifying for the World Cup and remains one of the biggest failure's in competition history.

Czechoslovakia 1978

Although Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in 1993, they had a talented footballing side that triumphed at in 1976, but despite their success they couldn't even qualify for the World Cup two years later.

They even reached the semi-finals of the Euro's in 1980, but had a freak 1978 as they lost out to Scotland, also losing to Wales in their qualifying group.

Czechoslovakia remain the only nation to win and reach the semifinals of back-to-back European Championships but fail to qualify for the World Cup in between.

They also won the Olympic gold in 1980 to add to their successes at this time, making their failure even more bizarre.

United States 2018

The United States certainly aren't known for being a major competitor in the mens game, with 'soccer' not taking priority stateside, but their omission in 2018 was a shock as their qualifying groups are notoriously weak.

When you consider the size of the country compared to relative to qualifying competitors within north America, failure to make the tournament is seen as a huge disappointment with Mexico the sole nation to compete with America on a regular basis.

The United States simply had to win their final qualifying game against Trinidad and Tobago to make the World Cup, simple right?

Wrong. They lost 2-1 and Panama made their first ever World Cup appearance in their absence.

Netherlands 1986

Netherlands make their second appearance on this list, and this one is perhaps the biggest surprise from a Dutch perspective.

After already failing to qualify for the previous tournament back in 1982, the Netherlands went through a rebuild and by the time the next tournament rolled around, they were seemingly ready for it.

Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman and Frank Rijkaard were all stars in a talented squad, but the Dutch lost to both Hungary and Austria and were forced to play a play-off against Belgium.

They lost to an 85th-minute away goal in the second leg and shockingly missed out, but the talent was there as they won the European Championships just two years after.

England 1974

England have failed to qualify on three occasions, but just eight years after their first and only World Cup success was particularly surprising.

England were still managed by World Cup winner Alf Ramsey, but the boss had ran out of ideas, and they failed to qualify for the tournament in West Germany.

The Three Lions won their opening qualifier, but they failed to win again during the three-team, four-game round robin as a 2-0 defeat to Poland and a 1-1 draw in the return fixture meant that England missed out.

England parted ways with Ramsey after 11 years in charge following their failure.

Netherlands 2018

The third and final Dutch team to make the list is the 2018 squad that also failed to qualify for the World Cup alongside Italy and the United States, in what appears to be a bad process all round with many sides missing the trip to Russia.

Although a lot of their stars had moved on, qualification was still expected, especially after they failed to make the cut for the Euro's two years prior.

The previous two World Cups saw the Netherlands make the final and semi-final, but 2018 saw them not even make the group stages in what marked a dark era for the nation.

They've topped the group this time though, meaning that Qatar 2022 will see the Dutch compete for the first time in eight years.

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