In its current format, the World Cup is made up of thirty two teams from the six federations that govern football around the world. Over the course of the three years preceding each tournament, qualifying campaigns whittle down more than two hundred countries and territories to that number, meaning that the vast majority of the world misses out on the opportunity to see themselves represented on the biggest stage of them all.
Seventy nine different teams have made their way to the finals over the last eighty eight years and there has been at least one new debutant at each event, with Iceland and Panama making their first appearances this time around and Qatar set to continue the trend in 2022 when they host.
Some nations have been ever present at almost every tournament (though Brazil are the only team to have appeared at every single one) whilst some have only ever qualified once or twice. The ongoing 2018 event has seen the likes of Egypt and Peru re-appear after absences of more than twenty five years, but there are plenty of other countries that have been waiting for another moment in the spotlight for much longer than that.
The twelve that have been missing in action for the longest are profiled across the next few pages.