Some Of The Worst FIFA World Cup Teams Ever


Posted: April 3, 2024

Updated: April 3, 2024

  • The World Cup gathers the strongest teams from across the globe
  • Amidst the winners, you can also find these six weak national teams
The World Cup is a celebration of football that gathers the strongest teams from across the globe. Well, mostly the strongest. Amidst the winners, you can also find the worst FIFA World Cup teams. Maybe too high expectations were set for them, or perhaps they left a lasting impression for all the wrong reasons, but their result left their fans bitter. Let’s recall some of the worst performances on the #1 international football pitch in no chronological order. Bet on the first favorites of the upcoming World Cup 2026 at Bet365.

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Zaire (DR Congo) Made a Non-Impressive Debut

The inaugural Sub-Saharan team faced a challenging journey at their first-ever World Cup in 1974. Following a stroke of luck against Scotland, where they narrowly escaped conceding more goals in their 2-0 loss, Zaire suffered a crushing defeat of 9-0 against Yugoslavia. After the loss, the team was reprimanded by officials and learned that their performance had deeply displeased their country’s authoritarian leader, President Mobutu. They were warned that allowing more than three goals against the reigning champions, Brazil, could lead to consequences, possibly even being stranded abroad post-tournament. Despite this pressure, Africans defended fiercely. Although there was a moment of embarrassment when Mwepu Ilunga broke from the defensive wall to clear the ball just as Rivellino was about to shoot, they managed to limit Brazil to a somewhat respectable 3-0 victory. However, with 14 goals conceded and none scored in three matches, President Mobutu was furious, declaring that the team had humiliated the entire continent.

El Salvador Was One of the Worst FIFA World Cup Teams

Another failed debut at the FIFA World Cup in 1982. Despite the turmoil in war-torn El Salvador, their football champions embarked on their journey to Spain with optimism. If online sportsbooks in Spain existed back then, they would have given this team pretty good odds.
worst FIFA World Cup teams
Picture Source: PICRYL
However, their spirits were shattered when they suffered a devastating 10-1 defeat against Hungary in their first World Cup match, marking a notorious record in finals history. In a stunning display, substitute Laszlo Kiss scored a hat-trick within seven minutes, overshadowing Luis Ramirez’s consolation goal for El Salvador. The team’s humiliation was palpable despite Ramirez’s efforts to uplift them. Following a strategic overhaul and a managerial change, El Salvador salvaged some dignity by putting up a brave fight against Belgium and an unsettled Argentina, losing narrowly with scores of 1-0 and 2-0, respectively. The crushing defeat against Hungary had turned them into a global laughingstock, a harsh reality for the players who faced ostracism upon their return home.

Greece Left Their Fans Disappointed in the 1990s

After leading Greece to their first World Cup finals and becoming a national hero, head coach Alketas Panagoulias faced a rapid downfall once the tournament commenced. The Greek team, unfortunately, failed to score during USA 1994. The most memorable moments in their matches involved Diego Maradona’s passionate celebration after scoring in Argentina’s 4-0 victory (a moment that remains iconic in World Cup history) and Daniel Amokachi’s impressive goal in Nigeria’s 2-0 triumph. Adding to their woes, Bulgaria also defeated Greece 4-0. Panagoulias, who had prioritized experience over youth in the squad, resigned immediately after the tournament, expressing deep disappointment and heartbreak. Most of the squad never again represented their country in international football, marking a true Greek tragedy.

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Even French Players Delivered a Poor Performance 

Today, France is in the top 3 to win the trophy, according to online gambling sites in Spain, but it once was among the worst FIFA World Cup teams. The disappointment from France’s lackluster performance in South Africa in 2010 wasn’t just due to their talented yet disjointed team collecting a single point in Group A; it was also marred by the disrespectful behavior of certain players, tarnishing the entire experience. Some attributed this to coach Raymond Domenech’s inability to manage aging stars like Thierry Henry and William Gallas effectively. During France’s match against Mexico, striker Nicolas Anelka reportedly had a heated exchange with Domenech at halftime, where Anelka allegedly used profane language directed at the coach. This led to a dispute over Anelka’s expulsion from the squad, with some players threatening to boycott the final match. While this crisis was eventually resolved, France’s lackluster performance continued as they were defeated by hosts South Africa. Finishing at the bottom of their group despite being considered pre-tournament favorites, France suffered significant damage to the reputations of several players, including Domenech.

Fans Had Too Many Hopes for Uruguay in 1986

Coach Omar Borras, sometimes credited with coining the term’ Group of Death,’ faced criticism from many Uruguayans before the tournament began. Not only was he seen as lacking tactical understanding, but his association with the recently ended dictatorial regime in Uruguay was also deeply troubling for some. Uruguay’s approach bordered on cynicism in a challenging group featuring West Germany, Denmark, and Scotland. Despite managing a commendable 1-1 draw against Germany, they suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat against Denmark, highlighted by Miguel Bossio’s red card for a violent tackle on Frank Arnesen.
worst FIFA World Cup teams
Picture Source: Flickr
Uruguay incurred fines from FIFA and was warned of expulsion if their rough play persisted. However, in a 0-0 draw with Scotland (which allowed Uruguay to advance to the knockout stage), Jose Batista received a red card just 39 seconds into the match for a reckless challenge on Gordon Strachan, marking the fastest red card in World Cup history. Ultimately, the morally upright Argentine team narrowly defeated Uruguay in the round of 16, much to the satisfaction of football fans. To know who’ll proceed to the next World Cup’s rounds, follow our online betting tips.

Germany was Once Among the Worst FIFA World Cup Teams

While not the weakest football squad in 1982, the runners-up in the World Cup were arguably the most morally bankrupt team ever to grace the finals in terms of blatant cynicism and a disregard for sportsmanship. Their infamous match against Austria, named “El Anschluss,” epitomized this attitude. After scoring an early goal courtesy of Horst Hrubesch, both teams were content to coast to a 1-0 finish, securing their progression to the second group stage at the expense of Algeria. “We’ve advanced, and that’s all that matters,” pragmatically remarked Lothar Matthaus, who, along with his teammates, later taunted protesting fans by throwing water balloons from their hotel room windows. The team’s reputation took another hit with Toni ‘Harald’ Schumacher’s brutal assault on French forward Patrick Battiston in the semi-final, leaving Battiston unconscious on the pitch. Though they were defeated 3-1 in the final by Italy, the shadow of their unsportsmanlike conduct lingered for years.

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