The FIFA World Cup is the biggest football event in the world. The World Cup, held every four years, always brings the same excitement and enthusiasm. In the FIFA World Cup players from all over the world are ready to prepare themselves and give their best for their respective countries. The 2022 edition will be held in Qatar and the curiosity is increasing with each passing day.
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A fixed number of teams compete in the final of the World Cup. As the years passed, the number of finalists increased. Currently, 32 teams compete in the World Cup proper. However, to get there one has to go through a rigorous qualification process. Each continent has its own qualifying tournament. So far, none of the defending champions have failed to book their place in the next edition. However, on three occasions the defending finalist did not qualify for the next World Cup final. Let’s see
After a famous run in the 1958 World Cup where they were beaten 5–2 by giants Brazil in the final, Sweden surprisingly failed to progress beyond the qualifying stages for 1962. One of the best teams in Europe, Sweden ultimately failed to be one of the eight teams that progressed to the World Cup finals.
Czechoslovakia followed Sweden in becoming the second consecutive runner-up to qualify. There were nine places for European teams to compete, with one place going to England. Czechoslovakia’s qualifying group included Portugal, Romania and Turkey. The now disbanded nation finished second to Portugal and eventually missed out.
Perhaps, the most surprising of the three was the exclusion of the Dutch from the 1982 edition, held in Spain. Although the format was expanded to accommodate more teams (16 to 24), the Netherlands still failed to make it. The Netherlands finished runner-up twice in a row at the 1982 World Cup. They were knocked out by Belgium and France in the qualifiers.