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Eight legendary FIFA World Cup debuts

Chuck Blake

Updated: Nov 15, 2022 06:56

Eight legendary FIFA World Cup debuts


From 1930 to 2006, we relive historic World Cup debuts

Eight nations that did not settle for a place at the table

Uruguay, Algeria, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Senegal, and Ghana feature

No team will have qualified for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 for the first time in the competition's history; the only first-timers will be the host nation. There have been some amazing debut campaigns to consider over the competition's 92-year history. will introduce you Eight legendary FIFA World Cup debuts...

Celestial joy at the Centenario

Thirteen teams representing three continents competed in the first FIFA World Cup. The hosts Uruguay, who had already won gold at the 1924 and 1928 summer Olympics, confirmed their standing as the dominant force in international football by defeating rival Argentina in the 1920s, even though they were all debutants by definition.

After rallying from a goal down to defeat Argentina 4-2 at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo, the architectural wonder constructed especially for the event, the Uruguayans had even more reasons to

Algerian revenge, pride and the disgrace of Gijon

How do you recover after falling short in a continental final? You carry it out Algerian-style. After Nigeria defeated them in the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations final, the Desert Warriors advanced ahead of Nigeria to the FIFA World Cup Spain 1982, and they didn't stop there. delivering the competition's best performance by an African team up to that point.

An account of how the underdog Algerians shocked the defending European champions West Germany, easily defeated Chile, and then were eliminated from the World Cup following a match that would become known as "The Disgrace of Gijon."

The might of Los Ticos

For a nation of just over 3 million people to reach the FIFA World Cup was a dream on its own, but to go there and compete against teams with the history and football traditions of Brazil, Scotland, Sweden and Czechoslovakia was beyond the wildest imaginations of Costa Ricans back in 1990.

Having watched their neighbours Cuba, Haiti, Honduras and El Salvador all compete at earlier editions of the World Cup, Los Ticos were eager to present their own credentials. Roger Flores, Juan Cayasso and their teammates wrote their names in gold in the Costa Rican history books.

Super Green Eagles soar high in USA

Nigeria, a powerhouse in Africa for the preceding two decades, finally made it to the World Cup stage in the same year that they won their second Africa Cup of Nations trophy, and there was much to rejoice for Nigerians in the US.

While doing so, they defeated Bulgaria and Greece, took the lead against Argentina and Italy at various points, and played a flashy brand of football with a smile on their faces. In the collective memory of World Cup fans, Daniel Amokachi, Rashidi Yekini, and Finidi George made household names for themselves.

Goals and glory for the Green Falcons

Saudi Arabia, who were already two-time Asian champions, were essentially unknown outside of Asia when they came in the United States in 1994. But over three decades later, if you ask any football fan of a specific generation about that competition, they'll likely cite the Green Falcons, and in particular Saeed Al Owairan, along with players like Romario and Roberto Baggio as the event's legacy players.

In addition to Al Owairan's legendary goal against Belgium, Saudi Arabia's dream run to the round of 16 on their debut was made into a tale worth telling by valiant efforts against the Netherlands and Sweden as well as a victory over Morocco.

Birth of a football nation

In the early years of the fledgling nation's history, football was one of Croatia's greatest success stories as it emerged from the ruins of the Balkans war as an independent nation determined to make a name for itself on the international stage.

Unexpectedly reaching the quarterfinals of Euro 1996 was just the beginning of a legendary journey that would see Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban, and Robert Jarni become legends of the sport. They would go on to win the bronze medals in France 1998, defeating nations like Germany and the Netherlands along the way.

Metsu’s miracle

The entire African continent was enthralled by the fairytale of their most recent World Cup representatives eight years after Nigeria's exploits. Senegal, who was not widely anticipated, made a strong World Cup debut by defeating the defending champions France.

The Lions of Teranga, who made history by reaching the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002 on their debut, matching the best performance by an African nation to that point, were led by the now-deceased French coach Bruno Metsu and the towering midfielder Papa Bouba Diop.

The Black Stars join the party

For Ghana to eventually make it to the FIFA World Cup, it took 43 years after their first Africa Cup of Nations victory and 24 years after their record-breaking fourth one, but when they did, it was a triumphant debut.

With courage and style, the daring Black Stars defeated the Czech Republic, Italy, and the United States. In the round of 16, Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari, and company gave it their all against a Brazil team that included players like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka, and Roberto Carlos.

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