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FIFA World Cup

Top 10 countries with the most appearances in FIFA World Cup

Published at :November 7, 2022 at 10:51 PM
Modified at :November 8, 2022 at 7:12 PM
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Manav Chowdhury

There is always big excitement when the World Cup comes around every four years. Club rivalries are put aside while conversations during that period are dominated and influenced by World Cup matches. The FIFA World Cup is every country and player's dream as it is the biggest sporting event on the planet.

It is a thing of massive pride to represent your country on the biggest stage of world football. The FIFA World Cup takes place once every four years and the teams spend the intervening years participating in qualifying matches and continental tournaments. There have been 21 editions of the World Cup so far, with Qatar 2022 set to be the next. The World Cup takes place every summer, but Qatar 2022 will be the first to take place during winter due to Qatar's intense summer heat.  

On that note let’s take a look at the teams with most appearances in the FIFA World Cup.

10. Uruguay - 14

The team has won the FIFA World Cup twice, including the first World Cup in 1930 as hosts, defeating Argentina 4–2 in the final. Their second title came in 1950, upsetting hosts Brazil 2-1 in the final match. The Uruguayan team is commonly referred to as La Celeste. They are one of the most successful football teams in South America.

Uruguay has won Copa America 15 times. They are tied with Argentina for the most titles in the history of the tournament. Uruguay won their most recent title (Copa) in 2011.

9. Belgium - 14

Belgium is the only national team in the world to top the FIFA ranking without having won the World Cup or a continental trophy. They failed to progress past the first round of their first five World Cup participations. In 1954, they drew with England (4–4 after extra time), and in 1970, they won their first World Cup match, against El Salvador (3–0).

Belgium in FIFA World Cup 2018. (Courtesy: Reuters)

From 1982 until 2002, Belgium qualified for six successive World Cups, and in these, they advanced beyond the first round five times. In Mexico in 1986, the Belgian team achieved their then-best-ever World Cup run at the time. In the 2018 World Cup, Belgium came third when they lost to France 0-1 in the semi-finals.

8. England - 16

England is one of eight nations to have won the World Cup. It won the 1966 edition, a tournament it also hosted. England finished fourth in both 1990 and 2018. The England football team is the joint-oldest in the world; it was formed at the same time as Scotland. The Three Lions failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1974, 1978 and 1994. 

7. France - 16

France is colloquially known as Les Bleus (The Blues). They are the reigning world champions, having won the most recent World Cup Final in 2018. France was one of the four European teams that participated in the inaugural world cup in1930. The France team won their first title in 1998. The tournament was played on home soil and France defeated Brazil 3-0 in the final. They are considered as one of the favourites for FIFA World Cup 2022 as well.

6. Spain - 16

After featuring in just four World Cups between 1930 and 1977, Spain has gone on to play in 11 consecutive tournaments since 1978. La Roja won the 2010 edition when their golden generation thrived between 2006 and 2012 and won back-to-back UEFA Euro titles in 2008 and 2012.

Between 2008 and 2012, the team played a style of football dubbed 'tiki-taka' - a systemic-approach to football founded upon the ideal of team unity and a comprehensive understanding of the geometry of space on a football field. Spain achieved 35 consecutive undefeated matches, a feat which they share with Brazil, and a sports record at the time.

5. Mexico - 17

El Tri has made 17 appearances at the World Cup, the most of any country from the CONCACAF region. They played France in the first-ever FIFA World Cup game in 1930 in Uruguay. They are also one of only six teams to qualify for every edition of the World Cup since 1994. Mexico missed out on a place in the World Cup in 1934, 1938, 1974, 1982, and 1990.

Their best performances came on home soil in 1970 and 1986, when they reached the quarter-finals. The Mexico national team, along with Brazil, are the only two nations to make it out of the group stage in the last seven editions.

4. Italy - 18

Italy devastated after defeat to North Macedonia. (Courtesy: AP)

Italy is one of the most successful national teams in the history of football and the World Cup, having won four titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006). However, the defending Euro champions have not been able to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. They were defeated at home by minnows North Macedonia in the playoff semi-finals, ending their hopes of travelling to Qatar.

3. Argentina - 18

Argentina is a two-time World Cup champion and has featured in 12 successive editions since 1974. The Albicelestes reached the World Cup final in its inaugural edition in 1930 before losing to Uruguay. They lost to Germany in the final in 2014, the closest they have come to lifting the trophy in recent years. They only failed to qualify for the competition in 1938, 1950, 1954, and 1970.

2. Germany - 20

Germany became champions in 2014 and is second on this list. Die Mannschaft, who played their maiden World Cup in 1934, won the first of their four titles in 1954. Germany finished champions in 2014 and secured third place in the 2010 edition. They have been one of the most consistent sides in the history of the competition. They also hold the record for most semi-final appearances in the history of the competition with 13. 

1. Brazil - 22

Brazil celebrate their World Cup triumph in 2002. (Courtesy: Reuters)

The Selecao is the most successful team in FIFA World Cup history. Brazil, with five World Cup titles, has made the most consecutive appearances in the World Cup. Since the inaugural edition in 1930, the Seleção have played in all 21 editions of the tournament with their most recent triumph coming in 2002. They lifted the World Cup in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. Brazil's national team remains the only one to win the FIFA World Cup in four different continents.