Wales Returns to a World Cup, Which Teams Have Had Similar Droughts?

After 64 years of absence, the small country of the United Kingdom will be present in Qatar 2022. We review other teams with similar droughts.

wales national team

Photo: IG-fawales

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: Gales vuelve a un Mundial ¿qué selecciones han tenido sequías similares?

Wales is a small country, it is one of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom together with England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Its size is similar to that of the department of La Guajira in Colombia, or if we compare it with a country it is just smaller than Haiti. However, their football tradition is as old and great as that of their European neighbors, everything has paid off and after 64 years of drought, the Welsh will once again play in a World Cup. Qatar 2022 is already waiting for this football team. By the way, here we have other teams with long droughts of competition in a World Cup.

The Curious Presence of Wales in Qatar 2022

The first thing that bothers fans is why Wales can get a place apart from England if it is part of the United Kingdom, an opportunity that Scotland and Northern Ireland also have. The answer goes back to the origins of football. The four nations already had a great history and organization before the existence of FIFA itself. When the latter was created, the four nations were united separately and not as a single federation, a situation that survives to this day. Wales is a regular competitor on the European sporting scene but is relatively little known globally. It has a participation in the World Cup achieved in 1958 in Sweden and now they have managed to return to the highest event in world football after 64 years of absence. Qatar will be the stage for Wales's to return to the World Cup, after leaving Ukraine on the way, who lost 1-0 due to a painful own goal.

Other Great Droughts of Teams that Took Time to Return to a World Cup

The history of Wales is not the only one, there are many teams around the world that have never qualified for a World Cup or that have not played in one again for many years. Surely the 2026 World Cup in the United States-Canada-Mexico will have other returns and debuts thanks to the fact that 48 places will be available for the event. In the meantime, here are other big drought picks.


In Russia 2018 we had one of the great returns to the event, Peru returned to a World Cup after 36 years of not doing so after participating in Spain 1982. The South Americans will try to qualify for two World Cups in a row next June 13 when they will look for their ticket to Qatar against the Australian team in a playoff that looks favorable to this team.

The Savior

The "Selecta" had its last participation in Spain in 1982, which adds up to 40 years without being present in a World Cup . In the eighth CONCACAF final to qualify, Qatar finished in seventh place, just above Honduras. The hope of the Salvadorans is in the 2026 World Cup where the hosts will already be classified, leaving the tickets free for their neighbors.

Jamaica, Austria, Scotland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Norway

France 1998 looks like a "cursed" World Cup, many of its guests have never seen a new World Cup. This is the case of Austrians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Norwegians, and Scots who have already been absent for 24 years.


With 28 years of drought, Bolivians have a place on this list, the last time they attended a World Cup was in 1994 in the United States with that legendary team led by Xabier Azkargorta. They are still a long way from Wales' 64 years, but they are already close to halfway.

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Turkey and Ireland

Both countries played their last World Cup match in 2002 in the Korea-Japan Cup, since then they have not qualified for the highest soccer event for 20 years. The competition in Europe is tough and they have not managed to win a place.

Northern Ireland, Iraq, and Hungary

Northern Ireland is also one of the nations of the United Kingdom and played its last World Cup match in Mexico in 1986, which adds up to a total of 36 years without qualifying for the World Cup. Although it is still a long way from the 64 years it took for Wales, Northern Ireland has a difficult outlook in the midst of a competitive Europe. On the other hand, the historic two-time runner-up in the world, Hungary, and Iraq have also not attended the event in 36 years.


The Israeli team has not attended a World Cup in 52 years, in fact, the World Cup in Mexico 70 was the only one. It should be noted that they managed to qualify in the Asian confederation, now as members of UEFA they have not managed to qualify, it is already dangerously close to the Welsh drought.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Since Germany 74 add 48 years without attending a World Cup, at that time the country was known as Zaire.

Indonesian and Cuban

The 1938 World Cup in France has been his only participation, especially in the Cuban case, in his absences from the World Cups, political reasons can be unraveled for which the team has not participated in the qualifiers. Even so, the Cuban sports level in soccer is far from other disciplines in which it country is a power. Both countries are already 84 years old without being part of the World Cup event.

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