Asian nations at the FIFA World Cup

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Association football is the most popular sport in nearly every Asian country, and 12 members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have competed at the sport's biggest event, the men's FIFA World Cup.

Overview[edit]

1930
Uruguay
(13)
1934
Italy
(16)
1938
France
(15)
1950
Brazil
(13)
1954
Switzerland
(16)
1958
Sweden
(16)
1962
Chile
(16)
1966
England
(16)
1970
Mexico
(16)
1974
West Germany
(16)
1978
Argentina
(16)
1982
Spain
(24)
1986
Mexico
(24)
1990
Italy
(24)
1994
United States
(24)
1998
France
(32)
2002
South Korea
Japan
(32)
2006
Germany
(32)
2010
South Africa
(32)
2014
Brazil
(32)
2018
Russia
(32)
2022
Qatar
(32)
Total
Teams 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1[1] 0 1 1 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 5 37
Top 16 0 0 1 0 2 0 2 0 1 6
Top 8 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0[a] 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
Top 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Top 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1st 0
2nd 0
3rd 0
4th South Korea 1
Country Participations Years Best result
 South Korea
10
1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 4th
 Japan
6
1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 R2
 Australia[2]
5
1974, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 R2
 Iran
5
1978, 1998, 2006, 2014, 2018 R1
 Saudi Arabia
5
1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018 R2
 North Korea
2
1966, 2010 QF
 Indonesia[3]
1
1938 R1
 Israel[1]
1
1970 R1
 Kuwait
1
1982 R1
 Iraq
1
1986 R1
 United Arab Emirates
1
1990 R1
 China PR
1
2002 R1

Results[edit]

Most finishes in the top four[edit]

Team # Top-four finishes
 South Korea 1 2002

Team results by tournament[edit]

Legend

The team ranking in each tournament is according to FIFA.[4] The rankings, apart from the top four positions (top two in 1930), are not a result of direct competition between the teams; instead, teams eliminated in the same round are ranked by their full results in the tournament. In recent tournaments, FIFA has used the rankings for seedings for the final tournament draw.[5]

For each tournament, the number of teams in each finals tournament (in brackets) are shown.


Team 1930
Uruguay
(13)
1934
Italy
(16)
1938
France
(15)
1950
Brazil
(13)
1954
Switzerland
(16)
1958
Sweden
(16)
1962
Chile
(16)
1966
England
(16)
1970
Mexico
(16)
1974
West Germany
(16)
1978
Argentina
(16)
1982
Spain
(24)
1986
Mexico
(24)
1990
Italy
(24)
1994
United States
(24)
1998
France
(32)
2002
South Korea
Japan
(32)
2006
Germany
(32)
2010
South Africa
(32)
2014
Brazil
(32)
2018
Russia
(32)
2022
Qatar
(32)
Total Qual.
Comp.
 Australia[2] R1
14th
R2
16th
R1
21st
R1
30th
R1
30th
5 14
member of OFC
 China PR × × × × × × × × × R1
31st
1 11
 Indonesia[3] × R1
15th
× × × × × × × 1 12
 Iran × × × × × × R1
14th
× × R1
20th
R1
25th
R1
28th
R1
18th
5 10
 Iraq × × × × × × R1
23rd
1 11
 Israel[1] × R1
12th
member of OFC member of UEFA 1 8
 Japan × × × × × × R1
31st
R2
9th
R1
28th
R2
9th
R1
28th
R2
15th
6 15
 Kuwait × × R1
21st
1 12
 North Korea Part of Japan × QF
8th
× × R1
32nd
2 12
 Qatar × Q 1 12
 Saudi Arabia × × × × × R2
12th
R1
28th
R1
32nd
R1
28th
R1
26th
5 11
 South Korea Part of Japan × R1
16th
× × R1
20th
R1
22nd
R1
20th
R1
30th
4th R1
17th
R2
15th
R1
27th
R1
19th
10 15
 United Arab Emirates × × R1
24th
1 9

Tournament standings[edit]

Team Champions Finals Semifinals Quarterfinals 2nd Round
 South Korea 0 0 1 1 2
 North Korea 0 0 0 1 0
 Japan 0 0 0 0 3
 Australia 0 0 0 0 1
 Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 0 1
  • Quarterfinals = knockout round of 8: 1934–1938, 1954–1970, and 1986–present; second group stage, top 8: 1974–1978
  • 2nd Round = second group stage, top 12: 1982; knockout round of 16: 1986–present

Overall team records[edit]

As per statistical convention in football, matches decided in extra time are counted as wins and losses, while matches decided by penalty shoot-outs are counted as draws. 3 points per win, 1 point per draw and 0 points per loss.

Results through World Cup 2018

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Points Topscorers
 South Korea 34 6 9 19 34 70 –36 27 Ahn Jung-hwan, Park Ji-sung, Son Heung-min 3
 Japan 21 5 5 11 20 29 –9 20 K. Honda 4
 Saudi Arabia 16 3 2 11 11 39 –28 11 S. Al-Jaber 3
 Iran 15 2 4 9 9 24 –15 10 S. Bakhtiarizadeh, I. Danaeifard, H. Estili, Y. Golmohammadi, R. Ghoochannejhad, M. Mahdavikia, H. Rowshan, K. Ansarifard 1
 Australia 16 2 4 10 13 31 –18 10 T. Cahill 5
 North Korea 7 1 1 5 6 21 –15 4 Pak Seung-zin 2
 Israel 3 0 2 1 1 3 –2 2 M. Spiegler 1
 Kuwait 3 0 1 2 2 6 –4 1 F. Al-Dakhil, A. Al-Buloushi 1
 Iraq 3 0 0 3 1 4 –3 0 A. Radhi 1
 Indonesia[3] 1 0 0 1 0 6 –6 0
 United Arab Emirates 3 0 0 3 2 11 –9 0 A. Jumaa, K. Ismaïl 1
 China PR 3 0 0 3 0 9 –9 0

Appearances[edit]

Ranking of teams by number of appearances[edit]

Team Appearances Record streak Active streak Debut Most recent Best result (* = hosts)
 South Korea 10 9 9 1954 2018 Fourth place (2002*)
 Japan 6 6 6 1998 2018 Round 2 (2002*, 2010, 2018)
 Australia[2] 5 4 4 1974 2018 Round 2 (2006)
 Saudi Arabia 5 4 1 1994 2018 Round 2 (1994)
 Iran 5 2 2 1978 2018 Round 1
 North Korea 2 1 0 1966 2010 Quarterfinals (1966)
 Indonesia[3] 1 1 0 1938 1938 Round 1
 Israel[1] 1 1 0 1970 1970 Round 1
 Kuwait 1 1 0 1982 1982 Round 1
 Iraq 1 1 0 1986 1986 Round 1
 United Arab Emirates 1 1 0 1990 1990 Round 1
 China PR 1 1 0 2002 2002 Round 1

Debut of teams[edit]

Each successive World Cup has had at least one team appearing for the first time. This table shows the national associations in alphabetical order per year.

Year Debutants Total
1930 0
1934 0
1938  Dutch East Indies[6] 1
1950 0
1954  South Korea 1
1958 0
1962 0
1966  North Korea 1
1970  Israel# 1
1974  Australia 1
1978  Iran 1
1982  Kuwait 1
1986  Iraq 1
1990  United Arab Emirates 1
1994  Saudi Arabia 1
1998  Japan 1
2002  China PR 1
2006 0
2010 0
2014 0
2018 0
2022  Qatar 1
Total 13

Summary of performance[edit]

This table shows the number of countries represented at the World Cup, the number of entries (#E) from around the world including any rejections and withdrawals, the number of Asian entries (#A), how many of those Asian entries withdrawn (#A-) before/during qualification or were rejected by FIFA, the Asian representatives at the World Cup finals, the number of World Cup Qualifiers each Asian representative had to play to get to the World Cup (#WCQ), the furthest stage reached, results, and coaches.
Year Host Size #E #A #A- Asian
finalists
#WCQ Stage Results Coach
1930 Uruguay 13 13 0 0 -
1934 Italy 16 32 2 1[7] -
1938 France 15 32 2 1[8]  Dutch East Indies [9] 0 Round 1 lost 0-6  Hungary Netherlands Johan Mastenbroek
1950 Brazil 15 34 4 4[10] -
1954 Switzerland 16 45 3 1[11]  South Korea 2 Round 1 lost 0-9  Hungary, lost 0-7 Turkey South Korea Kim Yong-sik
1958 Sweden 16 55 12 9[12] -
1962 Chile 16 56 3 1[13] -
1966 England 16 74 4 2[14]  North Korea 2 QF lost 0-3  Soviet Union, drew 1-1 Chile, won 1-0 Italy
QF: lost 3-5 Portugal
North Korea Myung Rye-hyun
1970 Mexico 16 75 7[15] 1[16]  Israel 4 Round 1 lost 0-2  Uruguay, drew 1-1 Sweden, drew 1-1 Italy Israel Emmanuel Scheffer
1974 West Germany 16 99 18 3[17] -
1978 Argentina 16 107 21 4 [18]  Iran 12 Round 1 lost 0-3  Netherlands, drew 1-1 Scotland, lost 1-4 Peru Iran Heshmat Mohajerani
1982 Spain 24 109 21 1 [19]  Kuwait 9 Round 1 drew 1-1  Czechoslovakia, lost 1-4 France, lost 0-1 England Brazil Carlos Alberto Parreira
1986 Mexico 24 121 28 4[20]  Iraq 8 Round 1 lost 0-1  Paraguay, lost 1-2 Belgium, lost 0-1 Mexico Brazil Evaristo de Macedo
 South Korea 8 Round 1 lost 1-3  Argentina, drew 1-1  Bulgaria, lost 2-3  Italy South Korea Kim Jung-Nam
1990 Italy 24 116 26 2[21]  South Korea 11 Round 1 lost 0–2  Belgium, lost 1–3  Spain, lost 0–1 Uruguay South Korea Lee Hoe-taik
 United Arab Emirates 9 Round 1 lost 0–2  Colombia, lost 1–5  West Germany, lost 1–4  Yugoslavia Brazil Carlos Alberto Parreira
1994 USA 24 147 30 2[22]  Saudi Arabia 11 Round of 16 lost 1-2  Netherlands, won 2-1 Morocco, won 1-0 Belgium
Round of 16: lost 1-3 Sweden
Argentina Jorge Solari
 South Korea 13 Round 1 drew 2-2  Spain, drew 0-0 Bolivia, lost 2-3  Germany South Korea Kim Ho
1998 France 32 174 36 0  Iran 17 Round 1 lost 0-1  Yugoslavia, won 2-1  United States, lost 0-2  Germany Iran Jalal Talebi
 Japan 14 Round 1 lost 0-1  Argentina, lost 0-1  Croatia, lost 1-2  Jamaica Japan Takeshi Okada
 Saudi Arabia 14 Round 1 lost 0-1  Denmark, lost 0-4  France, drew 2-2  South Africa Brazil Carlos Alberto Parreira (fired after two matches, replaced by Saudi Arabia Mohammed Al-Kharashy for the final match)
 South Korea 12 Round 1 lost 1-3  Mexico, lost 0-5  Netherlands, drew 1-1  Belgium South Korea Cha Bum-kun (fired after two matches, replaced by South Korea Kim Pyung-seok for the final match)
2002 South Korea & Japan 32 199 35 5[23]  China PR 14 Round 1 lost 0-2 Costa Rica, lost 0-4 Brazil, lost 0-3 Turkey Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Bora Milutinović
 Japan 0 Round of 16 drew 2-2  Belgium, won 1-0  Russia, won 2-0  Tunisia
Round of 16: lost 0-1 Turkey
France Philippe Troussier
 Saudi Arabia 14 Round 1 lost 0-8  Germany, lost 0-1  Cameroon, lost 0-3  Republic of Ireland Saudi Arabia Nasser Al-Johar
 South Korea 0 SF won 2-0  Poland, drew 1-1  United States, won 1-0  Portugal
Round of 16: won 2-1(a.e.t.)  Italy
QF: won 0-0 (pen. 5-3)  Spain
SF: lost 0-1  Germany
3-place match: lost 2-3  Turkey
Netherlands Guus Hiddink
2006 Germany 32 197 44 5[24]  Iran 12 Round 1 lost 1-3  Mexico, lost 0-2 Portugal, drew 1-1 Angola Croatia Branko Ivanković
 Japan 12 Round 1 lost 1-3  Australia, drew 0-0  Croatia, lost 1-4  Brazil Brazil Zico
 Saudi Arabia 12 Round 1 drew 2-2  Tunisia, lost 0-4  Ukraine, lost 0-1  Spain Brazil Marcos Paquetá
 South Korea 12 Round 1 won 2-1  Togo, drew 1-1  France, lost 0-2   Switzerland Netherlands Dick Advocaat
2010 South Africa 32 205 [25] 43 3[26]  Australia 14 Round 1 lost 0-4  Germany, drew 1-1 Ghana, won 2-1 Serbia Netherlands Pim Verbeek
 Japan 14 Round of 16 won 1-0  Cameroon, lost 0-1  Netherlands, won 3-1  Denmark
Round of 16: lost 0-0 (pen. 3-5) Paraguay
Japan Takeshi Okada
 North Korea 16 Round 1 lost 1-2  Brazil, lost 0-7 Portugal, lost 0-3 Ivory Coast North Korea Kim Jong-hun
 South Korea 14 Round of 16 won 2-0  Greece, lost 1-4  Argentina, drew 2-2  Nigeria
Round of 16: lost 1-2  Uruguay
South Korea Huh Jung-moo
2014 Brazil 32 203 43 3[27]  Australia 14 Round 1 lost 1-3  Chile, lost 2-3  Netherlands, lost 0-3  Spain Australia Ange Postecoglou
 Iran 16 Round 1 drew 0-0  Nigeria, lost 0-1  Argentina, lost 1-3  Bosnia and Herzegovina Portugal Carlos Queiroz
 Japan 14 Round 1 lost 1-2  Ivory Coast, drew 0-0  Greece, lost 1-4  Colombia Italy Alberto Zaccheroni
 South Korea 14 Round 1 drew 1-1  Russia, lost 2-4  Algeria, lost 0-1  Belgium South Korea Hong Myung-bo
2018 Russia 32 210 46 0  Australia 22 Round 1 lost 1-2  France, drew 1-1  Denmark, lost 0-2  Peru Netherlands Bert van Marwijk
 Iran 18 Round 1 won 1-0  Morocco, lost 0-1  Spain, drew 1-1  Portugal Portugal Carlos Queiroz
 Japan 18 Round of 16 won 2-1  Colombia, drew 2-2  Senegal, lost 0-1  Poland
Round of 16: lost 2-3  Belgium
Japan Akira Nishino
 Saudi Arabia 18 Round 1 lost 0-5  Russia, lost 0-1  Uruguay, won 2-1  Egypt Argentina Juan Antonio Pizzi
 South Korea 18 Round 1 lost 0-1  Sweden, lost 1-2  Mexico, won 2-0  Germany South Korea Shin Tae-yong

Competitive record[edit]

1938: The first Asian nation at the World Cup[edit]

The Indonesian team, prior to independence in 1945. Indonesia was the first Asian team to participate in the FIFA World Cup when the team qualified for the 1938 tournament after its opponent, Japan, withdrew from the qualification heats. The 6–0 loss to eventual finalists Hungary in the first round of the tournament in Reims, France, remains the nation's only appearance in the World Cup. The straight knock-out format used at the time made it the only game ever played by the Indonesians. Thus, Indonesia holds the World Cup record as the team with the fewest matches played (1) and one of the teams with the fewest goals scored (0). They were 15th place in the rankings.

1950: India's withdrawal[edit]

Burma, Philippines and Indonesia withdrew before the draw, so India qualified automatically. India later also withdrew because of the expense of traveling (or, according to some reports, after a FIFA ruling that players were not allowed to play barefoot). Other teams economized by sailing, rather than flying, to the tournament. FIFA decided not to invite another team, leaving the World Cup three teams short.

1954: South Korea's first World Cup[edit]

In the 1954 FIFA World Cup qualification, the Asian zone was allocated one place (out of 16) in the final tournament. In the 1954 World Cup qualification, three countries from the AFC participated. China PR withdrew, South Korea won against Japan and for the first time qualified for the World Cup. South Korea lost twice 0–9 to Hungary and 0–7 to Turkey. They were 16th place in the rankings.

1958–1962: World Cup without Asia[edit]

At the 1958 World Cup qualification, FIFA rejected South Korea's entry. Qualifications were held with Africa, Turkey, Cyprus and China PR withdrew in the first qualification round, Indonesia and Egypt in second. Sudan withdrew in the final qualification round as they refused to play against Israel for political reasons. Israel technically would have qualified automatically, but before the qualification rounds began, FIFA ruled that no team would qualify without playing at least one match (except for the defending champions and the hosts), and Israel had yet to play any. A special play-off was created between Israel and the runner-up of one of the UEFA Groups, where the teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis, with the winner qualifying. After Belgium refused, Wales, the runner-up of UEFA Group 4, was the team drawn from the UEFA group runners-up. Israel lost both times 0–2 and did not reach the World Cup.

There was only one round of play at the 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification. The three teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winner would advance to the UEFA/AFC Intercontinental play-off. Indonesia withdrew. South Korea won twice against Japan and advanced to the UEFA/AFC Intercontinental play-off. South Korea lost both times against Yugoslavia and did not reach the World Cup.

1966: North Korea's impressive performance[edit]

AFC, CAF, OFC confederations competed together in the qualification rounds. After having no teams from Africa or Asia qualifying for the previous two World Cups, FIFA decided to allocate a single spot to the winner of a four-way play-off between the winners of three African groups and the winner of the Asian zone. South Africa was suspended by FIFA due to apartheid. All 15 remaining African teams withdrew in protest against there being no automatic qualification for an African team, leaving the AFC–OFC winner to qualify by default. Japan then withdrew because the three-team tournament was moved from Japan to Cambodia, leaving only Australia and North Korea to contest the final place. Because North Korea lacked diplomatic relations with most countries, finding a suitable venue for the match proved difficult, until Head of State Norodom Sihanouk, an ally of Kim Il-sung, agreed to hosting the matches in Phnom Penh. North Korea easily won both legs to qualify. North Korea qualified for the eighth FIFA World Cup held in England.

North Korea got to Group 4. North Korea predictably lost the first game against the USSR by 0–3, the second was 1–1 against Chile. However, in an upset North Korea beat Italy 1-0 at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough, and finished above them, thus earning qualification to the next round along with the USSR. This was the first time that a nation from outside Europe or the Americas had progressed from the first stage of a World Cup. In their match against Portugal, they lead 3–0 after only 22 minutes. Portugal's Eusébio changed the pace, scoring four goals in the game and José Augusto added a fifth in the 78th minute to earn Portugal a 5–3 win. In a 1999 documentary featuring interviews with surviving members of the team, they describe themselves as having been welcomed home as national heroes.

1970: Israel debut at the World Cup[edit]

The 1970 AFC and OFC FIFA World Cup qualification were held together. Israel, New Zealand and Rhodesia received byes and advanced to the second round directly. The remaining three teams, Australia, Japan and South Korea, played against each other twice in South Korea. Australia advanced to the second round Group 1 and won over Rhodesia and advanced to the final round. In Group 2, Israel advanced to the final round when they defeated New Zealand twice. North Korea, despite their good performance in the previous tournament staged in England in 1966, refused to play in Israel and withdrew. In the final round, Israel defeated Australia 2–1 on aggregate and reached the World Cup. Israel qualified for their only World Cup to date as an Asian team. Soon after this, however, they left the Asian Football Confederation, and now compete in the European zone as they are now a member of UEFA. As of 2018, this is Israel's only World Cup finals appearance.

Israel lost their first game 0–2 against Uruguay, the other ended in a 1–1 draw against Sweden and 0–0 with Italy. Israel ranked last in the group and did not advance in the tournament. The team finished 13th out of 16 teams.

1974: Another World Cup without Asian nations[edit]

The Asian and Oceania zone competed for one place in the World Cup. India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines withdrew before the matches were played. The remaining 15 teams were divided into two zones, based on geographical and political considerations. Zone A had 7 teams (teams from East Asia, plus Israel). All matches were played in the Republic of Korea. Zone B had 8 teams (teams from West Asia and Oceania, plus Indonesia and North Korea). South Korea won Zone A and Australia Zone B. In the final round, South Korea and Australia were tied 2–2 on aggregate, and a play-off on neutral ground in Hong Kong was played to decide the qualifier. Australia won this match through a Jimmy Mackay goal, scored off a free kick.

1978: Iran's debut[edit]

A total of 21 AFC and OFC teams and Israel entered the competition. However, South Vietnam could not compete after being annexed by Vietnam. The Asian zone was allocated one place (out of 16) in the final tournament. The 21 teams would be divided into 5 groups. Sri Lanka, North Korea, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates withdrew. Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, Kuwait and Australia won in their group. Iran won the final group and qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time.

The group consisted of Iran, Netherlands, Peru and Scotland. Iran, the reigning Asian champion, went out of the tournament winless. Iran lost two of their three group stage games: 0–3 against the Netherlands and 1–4 against Peru. However, they managed to draw 1–1 against Scotland with a late Iraj Danaeifard goal. The team finished 14th out of the 16 teams.

1982: Kuwait's debut[edit]

A total of 21 AFC and OFC teams entered the qualification. Iran withdrew before the draw was made. The Asian and Oceania zone was allocated two places (out of 24) in the final tournament. The remaining 20 teams would be divided into four groups. New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and China PR advanced to the Final Round. In the Final Round, Kuwait ranked first place and immediately qualified to the World Cup. China PR and New Zealand finished level on points and goal difference, and a play-off on neutral ground (Singapore) was played to decide the qualifier. Kuwait won 2–1 and qualified to the World Cup for the first time.

Kuwait's group consisted of Czechoslovakia, England and France. In the opening match, Kuwait held Czechoslovakia to a 1–1 draw. In the game between Kuwait and France, with France leading 3–1, France midfielder Alain Giresse scored a goal vehemently contested by the Kuwait team, who had stopped play after hearing a piercing whistle from the stands, which they thought had come from Soviet referee Miroslav Stupar. Play had not yet resumed when Sheikh Fahid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, brother of the Kuwaiti Emir and president of the Kuwaiti Football Association, rushed onto the pitch to remonstrate with the referee. Stupar countermanded his initial decision and disallowed the goal to the fury of the French. Maxime Bossis scored another valid goal a few minutes later and France won 4–1. Kuwait lost the third game 0–1 against England. Kuwait finished fourth in their group and 21st out of the 24 teams.

1986: Iraq's debut, South Korea's return[edit]

A total of 27 AFC teams entered the competition. The Asian zone was allocated two places (out of 24) in the final tournament. Teams were divided into two zones, based on geographical considerations. Zone A had 13 teams (teams from West Asia) and Zone B had 14 teams (teams from East Asia). Lebanon, Oman withdrew. Iran were disqualified. Iraq won Zone A Final Round, South Korea won Zone B. Iraq and South Korea qualified for the 1986 World Cup.

As of 2018, this was the last time Iraq qualified for the finals. Iraq lost all three games: 0–1 against Paraguay, 1–2 against Belgium and 0–1 against Mexico, and finished 23 out of the 24 teams. However the defeat to Paraguay was controversial, as Iraq's Ahmed Radhi had scored a header from a corner right at the end of the first half which the referee disallowed as he incorrectly blew the whistle for half-time just before the header went into the back of the net.[28] The defeat to Belgium was also controversial as the referee gave a yellow card to Iraq's Basil Gorgis in a case of mistaken identity (the yellow was supposed to be given to Ghanim Oraibi) while the score was 0–2. Gorgis sarcastically applauded the referee's incorrect decision which led to him getting sent off and Iraq lost 1–2.[29] South Korea qualified for the first time since 1954. In its first game, South Korea lost 1–3 against Argentina, in the second game drew Bulgaria 1–1 in a downpour and in the third lost 2–3 against Italy. South Korea finished 20 out of the 24 teams.

1990: United Arab Emirates first World Cup[edit]

Twenty-six teams were in the running for these spots; Bahrain, India, Maldives and South Yemen withdrew without playing a qualifying match. The Maldives withdrew before the final draw, leaving 25 teams to be divided into six groups of four or five teams each. South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, China PR, Saudi Arabia and North Korea advanced to the Final Round. South Korea and the United Arab Emirates qualified for the 1990 World Cup, taking the first two places.

The United Arab Emirates qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time, its only appearance to date, but lost all three of its games: 2–0 to Colombia, 5–1 to West Germany and 4–1 to Yugoslavia. All three of the UAE's first round opponents reached the last 16. They were 24th (and last) place in the rankings. South Korea also lost all its three games: 0–2 to Belgium, 1–3 to Spain and 0–1 to Uruguay, and finished 22 out of 24 teams.

1994: Saudi Arabia reaches the Round of 16[edit]

A total of 30 teams entered the qualification. The Asian zone was allocated two places (out of 24) in the final tournament. The 30 teams were divided into six groups of five teams each, although Myanmar and Nepal withdrew after playing no match. The teams would play against each other twice. The group winners would advance to the Final Round. Iraq, Iran, North Korea, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Japan advanced to the Final Round, with Saudi Arabia and South Korea taking the first two places in the World Cup.

Saudi Arabia qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time. Their group consisted of Belgium, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Saudi Arabia lost its first game 1–2 against Netherlands, although they scored the first goal. Later, they beat Morocco 2–1. Against Belgium, Saudi player Saaed Al-Owairian ran from his own half through a maze of Belgian players to score the game's only goal. Both teams went through. For the much-fancied Dutch, however, progression to the second round was a somewhat nervier experience. Netherlands won the group, Saudi Arabia finished second and Belgium qualified as one of the best third-placed teams. In the first knockout stage match, Saudi Arabia faced Sweden and lost 1–3 after two goals from Kennet Andersson and one from Martin Dahlin. They were 12th place in the rankings.

South Korea's World Cup began with two draws against Spain (2–2) and Bolivia (0–0). However they lost the decisive match 2–3 against title holders Germany. They were 20th place in the rankings.

1998: Four Asian nations at the World Cup[edit]

A total of 36 teams entered the competition. The Asian zone was allocated 3.5 places (out of 32) in the final tournament. Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea qualified for the 1998 World Cup. Japan qualified for the first time.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Saudi Arabia were placed in Group C alongside South Africa, Denmark and hosts France. Saudi Arabia started with a 1–0 defeat by Denmark. Next, France scored four to eliminate Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia (0–2–0), which again failed to show any resemblance to the 1994 team that reached the second round, played most of the game with ten men after defender Mohammed Al-Khilaiwi was given a direct red card in the 19th minute for a poor tackle on Bixente Lizarazu. Forward Thierry Henry scored two goals, while David Trezeguet and Lizarazu scored one each for France. With two goals against Saudi Arabia, South Africa led but watched in horror as the Saudis scored on two penalty kicks to gain a 2–2 draw. The Saudis entered the match under new coach Mohammed al-Kharashi, a longtime assistant, after Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira was fired following the 4–0 loss to France.

Japan[edit]

Japan lost all three of its matches in its debut. In the first, it fell 1–0 to Argentina, with Gabriel Batistuta scoring for the opponents, knocking the ball over the Japanese goalkeeper on the edge of the penalty area. In the second match, against Croatia, a late Davor Šuker goal ensured a 1–0 Croatia victory and his nation's progression to the next round, simultaneously eliminating Japan from the tournament. Japan's World Cup campaign officially ended with an unexpected 2–1 defeat to rank outsiders Jamaica. Two goals from Theodore Whitmore gave Jamaica their first ever win in the World Cup finals, although Masashi Nakayama had the honour of scoring Japan's first-ever goal at the World Cup finals, which came in the 74th minute.

Iran[edit]

Iran's first game of Group F was played against Yugoslavia, a 1–0 loss instigated by a Siniša Mihajlović free-kick. Iran recorded their first World Cup victory in the second game, beating the United States 2–1, with Hamid Estili and Mehdi Mahdavikia scoring goals for Iran. The Iran–U.S. World Cup match was preheated with much excitement owing to each country's political stance after the Iranian Revolution. In an act of defiance against all forms of hatred or politics in sports, however, both sides presented one another with gifts and flowers and took ceremonial pictures before the match kickoff. Following the defeat by Iran, the U.S. were eliminated from the World Cup. Iran played Germany in the third game, where they lost 2–0. German goals were scored from Oliver Bierhoff and Jürgen Klinsmann. The one win and two defeats left Iran third in the final group standings, not enough for progression to the next round.

South Korea[edit]

South Korea entered the 1998 World Cup without a single win to their name despite 14 World Cup games' experience. South Korea played Mexico, the Netherlands and Belgium. In the first game, South Korea lead in the 27th minute thanks to a Ha Seok-ju free-kick that was deflected into the Mexican goal. A couple of minutes after the goal was scored, however, Ha Seok-ju was sent off for a bad challenge from behind, and Mexico leveled the score through half-time substitute Ricardo Peláez. With approximately 15 minutes remaining, Luis Hernández put Mexico in the lead with a simple tap-in. Hernández then went on to complete the victory after scoring Mexico's third goal. South Korea had to wait four more years to record their first ever victory in a World Cup: its next game against the Netherlands was a heavy 0–5 defeat, the third-worst loss in the nation's World Cup history. Its third game was against Belgium. A big win would have given Belgium a chance of progressing and an early goal by Luc Nilis might have set them on the way. The Koreans, however, mounted stiff resistance and in the second half, and Yoo Sang-chul scored the equaliser in an eventual 1–1 draw.

2002: South Korea and Japan hosted the World Cup[edit]

South Korea and Japan were selected as hosts by FIFA on 31 May 1996. Initially, South Korea, Japan and Mexico presented three rival bids. However, the two Asian countries agreed to unite their bids shortly before the decision was made, and they were chosen unanimously in preference to Mexico. This was the first (and so far the only) World Cup to be hosted by two countries. The 2002 World Cup was the tournament's 17th staging. It was also the first World Cup held in Asia, and the last in which the golden goal rule was utilized. South Korea and Japan, the co-hosts, qualified automatically, leaving 2.5 spots open for competition between 40 teams. Myanmar withdrew from the tournament after being placed in Group 2 but before any matches had been played, therefore reducing the group to three teams. Afghanistan, Bhutan, North Korea and Timor-Leste did not participate in the qualification process. Asia's two remaining automatic qualifying berths were taken by Saudi Arabia and China PR. Iran failed to become a third Asian representative in the World Cup after losing their AFC/UEFA playoff against the Republic of Ireland.

China PR[edit]

China PR qualified for the finals for the first time. Coached by Bora Milutinović (the fifth national team he coached in five consecutive World Cups), the nation failed to earn a point or even score a goal. As football is widely followed in China, national team success is considered to be a source of national pride. Around 300 million people tuned into broadcasts of China's 2002 World Cup matches, with a staggering 170 million new television sets being bought by citizens in order to watch their nation's first World Cup appearance. Its first game was against Costa Rica. Costa Rica dealt China PR a harsh blow by taking the lead against the run of play on 61 minutes. Rónald Gómez's slick backheel played Paulo Wanchope in, and Wu Chengying's challenge only popped the ball up for Gómez to fire in a left-foot shot. China PR had no time to gather their thoughts before they were 2–0 down. China's PR best moment of the first-half came on 39 minutes when they broke quickly after fending off a Costa Rica free-kick. Its second game against Brazil was a 0–4 defeat. China PR looked lively and appeared to be enjoying themselves, even when they overhit the ball, but China PR could not do anything about Roberto Carlos's left-footed free-kick goal in the 15th minute. Ronaldo then scored two and Ronaldinho one to effectively end the match. China PR searched for their first goal of the tournament in their third match, against Turkey. After just ten minutes, however, they were already down 0–2. Just before the half-hour mark, China PR almost scored their first goal of the tournament when Yang Chen hit the post. Hasan Şaş again set up Turkey with a cross to the far post, this time for Ümit Davala to score off the post. China PR failed to score a goal and was eliminated from the tournament.

South Korea[edit]

South Korea beat Poland 2–0 after Hwang Sun-hong and Yoo Sang-chul scored. The first real chance for the home side came in the 20th minute, when Yoo Sang-chul shot across the face of an outstretched Jerzy Dudek. South Korea started to apply more pressure and took the lead in the 25th minute: Lee Eul-yong played the ball into Hwang Sun-hong, who hit the ball first-time into the net. In the 53rd minute, South Korea scored their second goal: Yoo Sang-chul ran towards Tomasz Wałdoch and Radosław Kałużny, then confidently shot between them and past goalkeeper Dudek. Even the President of Korea waved his hat at the goal, which secured South Korea's first-ever win at the World Cup finals. In its second match, against the United States, the game's first real scoring chance fell to the U.S.' Clint Mathis, who scored with a left-footed drive from the middle of the penalty area. Later on, in the 78th minute, an Ahn Jung-hwan glancing header completely stunned American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who seemed rooted to the spot as the ball sailed into the net. South Korea missed the chance to take all three points right at the end when Choi Yong-soo stabbed another shot over the bar, with only Friedel to beat. South Korea played its third match against Portugal, needing a win to be guaranteed a place in the second round, though earning one point would suffice (for the U.S. as well, however).

The South Koreans tore apart a Portuguese side who had João Pinto and Beto sent off. In the 70th minute, Park Ji-sung smashed in a brilliant goal for Korea to secure a 1–0 victory and Korea's progression to the next round. Here, South Korea beat Italy 2–1 in sudden-death extra time. In the 18th minute, Christian Vieri headed Italy into the lead from a Francesco Totti corner. Ahn Jung-hwan had the best chance for Korea in the 36th minute when he shot over the bar from close range. Two minutes from time, the stadium erupted as Italy defender Christian Panucci failed to clear the ball, with Seol Ki-hyun pouncing on his mistake. Totti received his second yellow card for diving in the penalty area. Ten-men Italy finally fell to a 117th-minute, golden goal header scored by Ahn Jung-hwan, who at the time was ironically playing for Italian club Perugia.

In the quarter-finals, Spain were unable to win a second consecutive penalty shootout, losing to South Korea after having two goals controversially disallowed in normal time, with South Korea becoming the first (and, as of 2018, the only) team from outside Europe and the Americas to reach the last four of a World Cup. Four minutes after the restart, a Spanish goal was disallowed, while a second Spanish goal was disallowed after the linesman judged that the ball had gone out of play before Fernando Morientes headed the ball into the net. In the 100th minute, Morientes turned on a long throw-in and crashed his shot against the left post. Korea won 5–3 on penalties and became the first ever Asian nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, where they would face Germany.

The match started slowly: South Korea kept possession well and Germany appeared content to keep the volume of the crowd down, with both sides entering half-time level at 0–0. In the 75th minute, however, Michael Ballack ran on to Oliver Neuville's low cross; his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae, but Ballack followed up to convert the rebound and secure Germany's place in the final with a 1–0 victory. With the semi-final defeat, Korea contested the third-place match in Daegu against the other defeated semi-finalist, Turkey. Turkey, however, won third place after an entertaining 3–2 victory in a match that included the fastest ever World Cup goal, scored by Parma striker Hakan Şükür after just 11 seconds. Lee Eul-yong replied in the ninth minute with a curling free-kick into the top right-hand corner, but shortly after, İlhan Mansız put Turkey back in front in the 13th minute after splitting the South Korean defence by playing a swift one-two with Şükür. Song Chong-gug then managed to stun Turkey goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber when his long-range shot deflected off of Cha Du-ri's bottom, in injury time, for a last consolation goal that ended the game on a slight high note for the home fans.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Saudi Arabia were eliminated as the worst team in tournament, after three defeats and no goals scored, including an 0–8 loss to Germany, 0–1 to Cameroon and 0–3 to the Republic of Ireland.

Japan[edit]

Hosts Japan topped their group with two wins and one draw. In the first match, they drew 2–2 with Belgium. Marc Wilmots broke the deadlock with a beautiful overhead kick in the 57th minute. Two minutes later, Japan's Takayuki Suzuki, in the penalty area, got a foot on to Shinji Ono's pass from the half-way line. In the 67th minute, Arsenal's Junichi Inamoto ran through three defenders to give Japan a 2–1 lead. Five minutes later, the stadium was momentarily silenced when Peter Van Der Heyden, beating the offside trap on the edge of the area, neatly lobbed Japan goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki as he came off his line. Japan advanced to the second round with a 1–0 win over Russia and a 2–0 victory against Tunisia. Japan register their first ever World Cup finals victory. However, they subsequently exited the tournament during the Round of 16 after a 1–0 defeat to Turkey. Ümit Davala headed Turkey into the lead from an Ergün Penbe's corner in the 12th minute. An Alessandro Santos free-kick crashed against the woodwork later on to give the Japanese some hope for the second-half. Japan made a couple of substitutions at half-time as they looked for fresh initiative. Hidetoshi Nakata deflected shot almost troubled Turkish goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber. Japan continued to look for the equaliser, with Akinori Nishizawa's header on target and Tomokazu Myojin shooting just narrowly wide. With ten minutes left in the game, Nishizawa's shot flew over the bar and with it Japan's hopes of a place in the quarter-finals.

2006: Iran returned to the World Cup[edit]

Forty-four Asian teams are affiliated with FIFA, but Cambodia, Philippines, Bhutan and Brunei decided not to take part, while Myanmar was banned from the competition, so a total of 39 teams took part to compete for 4.5 places in the World Cup. Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan and Iran qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals.

Iran[edit]

Iran started their campaign with high expectations from fans and media. Their first match was against Mexico in Group D. The game was level 1–1 at the half-time, but Iran lost at the end because of a defensive mistake, and the match finished 3–1, with goals scored by Omar Bravo and Zinha for Mexico and Yahya Golmohammadi for Iran. Iran then played Portugal in the second game, losing 2–0; goals were scored by Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo, the latter from a penalty. The two losses meant Iran was eliminated from the competition even before contesting their third and final game against Angola. Iran drew 1–1, with Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh scoring the Iran goal.

Japan[edit]

Japan also failed to advance to the Round of 16 after finishing the group without a win, losing to Australia 1–3 in the first match. In the 26th minute, Shunsuke Nakamura scored the first goal, only for Australia to respond with three late goals in the 84th, 89th and 92nd minutes. In game two, Japan drew with Croatia 0–0. After defeats in the opening game, both Japan and Croatia seemed reluctant to take any early risks and for 20 minutes, little appeared to transpire. In the 21st minute, however, Niko Kranjčar missed penalty, while five minutes into the second-half, the ball arrived at the far post only for Atsushi Yanagisawa to horrendously miss an open goal, skewing the ball back across the goalmouth. In Japan's third match, it lost to Brazil 1–4, despite scoring the game's first goal, in the 34th minute, from Keiji Tamada.

South Korea[edit]

South Korea won its first match 2–1, against Togo; goals were scored by Lee Chun-soo and Ahn Jung-hwan. The victory marked Korea's their first World Cup finals win outside of home soil. In the second game, a 1–1 draw with France, Thierry Henry scored in the ninth minute, but Park Ji-sung leveled the score in 80th minute. Before the last match, against Switzerland, Korea had a strong chance to reach the round of 16. Switzerland scored first from a Philippe Senderos headed a goal off a Hakan Yakin free-kick in the 23rd minute. France went ahead against Togo in the 55th minute, which would mean that if Switzerland were to win, South Korea would be eliminated. Switzerland's star striker, Alexander Frei, doubled Switzerland's lead with 13 minutes to play while France won their match, resulting in South Korea's elimination from the competition.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Saudi Arabia drew the first match 2–2 with Tunisia; Saudi Arabia had the lead as late as the 93rd minute, but Radhi Jaidi leveled the score. The Saudis' next game was against Ukraine, a 0–4 defeat. Saudi Arabia knew before kick-off that they had to score at least four goals to stand a chance of qualifying, but survival was clearly priority number one as they allowed Spain, who had changed their entire first 11, to feel their way into the match. Juanito scored at the 39th minute and buried their chances of progression beyond the group stage.

2010: South Korea and Japan reaches the Round of 16, North Korea's return[edit]

Forty-three teams competed for spots at the 2010 World Cup; Laos, Brunei and the Philippines did not enter qualification. This was the first time Timor-Leste competed in World Cup qualification and the first time Australia attempted to qualify as a member of the AFC, having moved from the Oceania Football Confederation at the start of 2006. Asia's four automatic qualifying berths were taken by Australia, Japan]], North Korea and South Korea.

North Korea[edit]

North Korea qualified for the first time since 1966; they were drawn into Group G, and played their first match against five-time winners Brazil on 15 June. Brazil won 2–1 in a game where North Korea were well organised defensively and showed resilience, frustrating the Brazilians. Despite their best efforts, however, they were nevertheless outmatched and eventually broken down. Maicon's relief was visible after his goal to finally put Brazil ahead. Their next game was against Portugal on 21 June, where they suffered a heavy 0–7 defeat. Despite starting well (much like against the Brazilians), with a defensive, well organised approach, once Portugal scored the first, the North Korean defense unfolded and the following six goals were scored with relative ease. In North Korea's last match, against the Ivory Coast on 25 June, the team fell 3–0. After losing all three matches in the group stages, North Korea were eliminated, finishing last in Group G.

South Korea[edit]

South Korea were drawn into Group B alongside Argentina, Nigeria and Greece. South Korea registered the first win at the 2010 World Cup with a 2–0 victory over Greece, with goals scored by Lee Jung-soo and captain Park Ji-sung. In the second match, South Korea fell to Argentina 1–4, with striker Gonzalo Higuaín scoring a hat-trick and Park Chu-young scoring an own goal for the Argentines; Lee Chung-yong scored Korea's consolation goal. South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo, who played against Argentina's Diego Maradona at the 1986 World Cup, saw his team struggle to live with Argentina's quick tempo and the quality of their pass-and-move football. The decisive match was with Nigeria, which ended 2–2 and with subsequent triumph for South Korea, because paired with Argentina's defeat of Greece, the draw sealed their first-ever progression beyond the group stage on foreign soil.

As Group B runners-up, South Korea faced Uruguay in the last 16. The South Koreans were effervescent in their attacking third but shaky in their defence, which was exposed as early as the eighth minute: Diego Forlán was fed on the left and played a low ball across the six-yard area, which was misjudged by goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong and his statuesque defence but not by Luis Suárez at the far post, who calmly slotted in for his second goal of the competition. In the 68th minute, the South Koreans' luck change when, off of a free-kick, Bolton's Lee Chung-yong pounced on Mauricio Victorino's attempted headed clearance to score a nod-in from eight yards out; it was the first goal Uruguay had conceded in the tournament. With ten minutes remaining, Suárez lurked on the fringes of the 18-yard area as a corner was swung in from the right. He cut in from the left before curling in a well-struck shot that left goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong rooted as the ball clipped the post on its way in. The South Koreans pressed and should have taken the game into extra-time, but substitute Lee Dong-gook's weak shot squirmed under the shirt of Fernando Muslera before it was comfortably cleared.

Australia[edit]

Australia were drawn into Group D, which also featured three-time world champion Germany, Ghana and Serbia. On 14 June, Australia faced Germany in Durban; Pim Verbeek surprisingly chose to play without a recognised striker. Australia were comprehensively defeated 4–0, and Verbeek was heavily criticised for his tactics,[30] with chief SBS Football Analyst Craig Foster calling for his immediate sacking.[31]

Australia's second group match, against Ghana, resulted in a 1–1 draw. Australia shot its only goal early in the first half by Brett Holman after Ghana's goalkeeper Richard Kingson fumbled the ball following a Mark Bresciano free-kick. Shortly after, a goal-bound strike from Ghana's Jonathan Mensah was blocked on the goal line by Harry Kewell's upper arm, resulting in a penalty kick and a straight red card for Kewell. Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan scored the equalizing goal. Despite the man advantage, however, Ghana were mostly limited to long-range shots on Australia's goal, and some desperate defending from Australia saw the game finish a draw.

In their final group match, against Serbia, Tim Cahill was back from suspension and scored via a header in the second half to give Australia a 1–0 lead. Only four minutes later, Brett Holman doubled the scoreline with an impressive long-range effort. Late in the second half, Serbia managed to score a late goal through Marko Pantelić after Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer fumbled the ball, with the game ultimately ending at 2–1. Germany had defeated Ghana 1–0, which meant that both Australia and Ghana finished on four points. Ghana, however, progressed to the knockout stage due to their superior goal difference. Verbeek completed his term as Australian coach at the end of the 2010 World Cup.

Japan[edit]

Japan hung on to win their first-ever World Cup match on foreign soil, defeating Cameroon 1–0. The game's only goal came in the 39th minute when Keisuke Honda controlled a cross at the far post and stabbed the ball past goalkeeper Souleymanou Hamidou. In the second game, Japan lost 0–1 to the Netherlands. Wesley Sneijder's powerful 52nd-minute winner from just outside the box settled a fascinating Group E contest between two contrasting sides who opened up in the second half and were creating good chances right up to the final whistle. Loitering just outside the penalty area, Sneijder lashed a powerful right-foot shot towards goal that goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima could only deflect into the net despite being well-placed to make the save. Japan had the best chance to level the score one minute from time, but unmarked substitute Shinji Okazaki fired over the net from ten yards out.

Japan's third, decisive match was against Denmark. Midfielder Keisuke Honda opened the scoreline, bending a 30-yard free-kick past Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen in the 17th minute. Just 13 minutes later, teammate Yasuhito Endō fired past Sørensen's outstretched hand to make it 2–0 for Japan. Takeshi Okada's side had to survive a late scare as Jon Dahl Tomasson tapped in a rebound after goalkeeper Kawashima saved the Dane's penalty kick. However, subtite Shinji Okazaki's 88th-minute strike clinched second place in the group for Japan with a 3–1 victory.

Japan faced Paraguay in the last 16. The match was decided by a penalty shootout after the score was locked at 0–0 for 120 minutes. Paraguay won the shootout and progressed to its first ever World Cup quarter-final. The match was a generally unexciting affair, as Japan adopted a defensive posture while Paraguay itself maintained a solid defence. The first-half produced the occasional chance on goal, with Lucas Barrios having a shot saved shortly before a long-distance shot from Daisuke Matsui hit the crossbar of Paraguay's goal. The second half was similar, with both sides producing occasional chances to score rather than periods of outright dominance. The result of the deadlock was extra time, which continued goalless. A penalty shootout ensued, during which Yuichi Komano missed a spot kick for Japan. Paraguay scored all five of its penalties, clinching the win and subsequent progression to the quarter-finals.

2014: Disappointment for Asians[edit]

The 2014 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil, marked the first time since 1990 where no Asian team managed to win a game, and where the AFC was the only FIFA confederation without both wins and teams represented in the knockout stages.[32][33] Three of Asia's four qualifiers in 2010—Australia, Japan and South Korea—qualified for the 2014 tournament. Iran, meanwhile, qualified for the first time since 2006.

Australia was eliminated early despite good performances against Chile and the Netherlands that both ended in close losses (1–3 and 2–3 respectively). In their third match, however, they were blown-out 3–0 to defending World Cup champions Spain, who were themselves also mathematically eliminated from the tournament.

Japan opened the scoring in its first match against the Ivory Coast, but lost the lead en route to an eventual 1–2 defeat. In the following games, the Japanese failed to break Greece's tight defence and finished in a goalless draw, and afterwards, despite equalizing Colombia at half-time, eventually lost 4–1 to ensure an early tournament exit.

South Korea opened the score against Russia after a blunder by goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, but wound up conceding the equalizing goal shortly after. A high-scoring match with Algeria had the Koreans defeated 4–2, and a 1–0 loss to Belgium ended Korea's campaign.

After an opening 0–0 draw with Nigeria, the Iranian defense held Argentina goalless for most of the match before a Lionel Messi goal in injury time. Needing to beat the already-eliminated Bosnia and Herzegovina to clinch the group's second spot in the knockout stages, Iran wound up defeated 3–1.

2018: Five Asian Teams at the World Cup for the first time[edit]

The 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in Russia, marked the first time five Asian teams qualified for the FIFA World Cup. Only Japan advanced past the group stage, a feat aided by fair-play points in tie-breaking. Aside from Australia, who only got a draw and two defeats, the other three had at least one win: Saudi Arabia got a 2-1 comeback over Egypt, Iran defeated Morocco, and in the biggest upset, South Korea beat defending champions Germany.[34] In the round of 16, Japan surprised a favored Belgium team and got a 2-0 lead, only to suffer a 3-2 comeback that ended with a Belgian goal in the last minute of stoppage time.[35]

Never qualified[edit]

INDIA

Indonesia

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In 1982, the second round has 12 teams of which 4 progressed to the semi-finals.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d The Asian team in 1970 was Israel, who were then an AFC member. They were expelled from AFC in 1974 and joined UEFA in 1994.
  2. ^ a b c In 2006 Australia qualified through OFC qualifying competition however the Football Federation Australia officially left the OFC and joined the AFC on 1 January 2006. They qualified in 1974 as a member of OFC.
  3. ^ a b c d Prior to independence in 1945 competed as Netherlands Dutch East Indies, including their only World Cup finals appearance in 1938.
  4. ^ "FIFA World Cup Statistical Overview (page 4)" (PDF). Retrieved May 17, 2006.
  5. ^ Seeding of national teams (PDF). Accessed 12 September 2016.
  6. ^ Known as Indonesia after independence in 1945
  7. ^ Entered in Africa and Asia. Turkey withdrew. Palestine football team consisted of nine British footballers, six Jewish footballers and one Arab footballer.[2] FIFA states in reference to the 1930s Palestine Mandate team that The term 'Palestine team' that had participated in previous competitions in the 1930s was actually the forerunner of today's Israel team and as such bears no relation to the national team of the Palestinian authority."[3] However, the region currently known as Palestine is considered "one of the first Asian teams to compete in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers".[4]
  8. ^ Japan withdrew.
  9. ^ Known as Indonesia after independence in 1945
  10. ^ Burma, the Philippines and Indonesia all withdrew, so India qualified automatically. But India later also withdrew "because of the expense of travelling such a long way to play" or, according to some reports, after a FIFA ruling that players were not allowed to play barefoot, and FIFA decided not to invite anyone else, leaving the World Cup three teams short.
  11. ^ China PR withdrew the qualification.
  12. ^ FIFA rejected the entries of Ethiopia and South Korea; China PR, Hong Kong, Turkey, Cyprus withdrew at the first round;Indonesia withdrew after FIFA rejected their request to play against Israel on neutral ground. Israel advanced to the Final Round automatically. Egypt withdrew, so Sudan advanced to the Final Round automatically; Sudan refused to play against Israel for political reasons, so Israel would technically qualify automatically, but before the qualification rounds began, FIFA ruled that no team would qualify without playing at least one match (except for the defending champions and the hosts), and Israel had yet to play any.
  13. ^ Indonesia withdrew
  14. ^ Originally this was to be a four team group stage between Australia, North Korea, South Africa and South Korea played in Japan. However South Africa was suspended and South Korea withdrew because the 3 team tournament was moved from Japan to Cambodia. Because North Korea lacked diplomatic relations with most countries, finding a suitable venue for the match proved difficult, until Head of State Norodom Sihanouk, an ally of Kim Il-sung, said the matches could be held in Phnom Penh. The winner (North Korea) qualified for the eighth FIFA World Cup held in England.
  15. ^ Israel qualified for their only World Cup to date as an Asian team. However, soon after this, they left the Asian Football Confederation, and nowadays compete in the European zone as they are now a member of UEFA.
  16. ^ North Korea withdrew
  17. ^ India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines withdrew
  18. ^ Sri Lanka, North Korea, Iraq, United Arab Emirates withdrew
  19. ^ Iran withdrew before the draw was made
  20. ^ Chinese Taipei were assigned to the Oceanian zone instead. Oman, Lebanon withdrew. Iran was disqualified
  21. ^ Bahrain, India, Maldives and South Yemen withdrew without playing a qualifying match.
  22. ^ Myanmar and Nepal withdrew.
  23. ^ Myanmar withdrew from the tournament after being placed in Group 2 but before any matches had been played, therefore reducing the group to 3 teams. Afghanistan, Bhutan, North Korea and Timor-Leste did not participate in the qualification process.
  24. ^ Cambodia, Philippines, Bhutan and Brunei decided not to take part, and Myanmar was banned from the competition.
  25. ^ The first time Australia attempted to qualify for the World Cup as a member of the AFC.
  26. ^ Laos, Brunei and the Philippines did not attempt to qualify.
  27. ^ Brunei were suspended by FIFA from September 2009 through May 2011. Their reinstatement came too late for Brunei to participate in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Bhutan and Guam are not participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
  28. ^ LinguaSport - 1986 World Cup
  29. ^ MEXICO 86: IRAQ’S WORLD CUP CAMPAIGN, WHERE LUCK MET FATE (PART THREE)
  30. ^ "Verbeek takes blame for Socceroos defeat". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. 14 June 2010.
  31. ^ Hilferty, Tim (16 June 2010). "Craig Foster – sack Pim Verbeek immediately". The Australian.
  32. ^ With South Korea's Loss, Asia Out of World Cup
  33. ^ Asian teams' struggle at World Cup showcases problems at home
  34. ^ Asian teams at the 2018 World Cup graded
  35. ^ "Belgium dig deep to edge out Japan". FIFA.com. 2 July 2018.

External links[edit]