National Teams that have played the FIFA World Cup and failed to score a single goal

Qatar 2022

The first great objective of every National Team is to be part of the chosen ones to play in a FIFA World Cup. Once that mission is accomplished, another new dream is born: to be able to score a goal; however, there are some squads that have fallen short in this area. Meet the Teams that have played this tournament and have not been able to get on the scoreboard.

Sometimes the opportunity to score a goal during a World Cup does not arrive
© Mike Hewitt/Getty ImagesSometimes the opportunity to score a goal during a World Cup does not arrive

Surviving and enduring the complexities of Qualifiers has a huge reward in the form of the uncontainable thrill of being part of a FIFA World Cup. However, the next climax comes if you create the opportunity to score a goal in this tournament. For the sake of the fans and for the sake of soccer itself, let’s hope that Qatar 2022 is full of celebrations.

In the history of the FIFA World Cup, 2548 goals have been scored. This took 92 years of history spread over 21 editions. The tournament in which the most goals have been scored are two: Brazil 2014 and France 1998 with 171, in the era of 32 participants. While when it was played with 24 National Teams, it was in Spain 1982 when there were the most goals scored (146). In fact, this edition is the one with the best average of goals per game with 2.8.

Unfortunately, every story has a sad part. Throughout the 21 editions of the FIFA World Cup, there have been some teams that, despite having participated in the tournament, have left without the satisfaction of having scored at least a single goal. Find out who embodied these sad cases.

Teams that have failed to score a goal in FIFA World Cups

A total of 79 teams (the host country of Qatar 2022 will become the the eightieth participant) have had the opportunity to play at least one match in the 92-year history of the FIFA World Cup. And that option is real because in the editions of Italy 1934 and France 1938, 16 teams played only one match as the first match of each participating team was part of the Round of 16, a knockout stage.

There have been a total of 5 teams that have achieved the goal of qualifying and playing in one of the 21 editions of the FIFA World Cup, however, they have not been able to score a single goal, a historic fact, as they represent less than 10% of the total number of participants.

There is an incontrovertible truth: every time a European National Team plays in a World Cup, it scores at least one goal, as this top 5 is made up of Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Indonesia, China and DR Congo. Two teams from CONCACAF, two more from the Asian Confederation and one African. All of them have in common that they have only played one edition of the 21 FIFA World Cups that have been held.

Trinidad & Tobago

Only 11 Concacaf teams have qualified for the FIFA World Cup. By that standard, the Socca Warriors belong to the zone’s elite. But when compared to the 78 other participants in the history of the tournament, they are totally undervalued. They took part in Germany 2006, where they were eliminated in the group stage with one draw and two defeats, with no goals scored and four conceded. 


John Herdman has earned a place in Canadian soccer history, as the Canucks had not played in a FIFA World Cup since Mexico 1986. In Qatar 2022 they are aiming for much more than in the edition they played 36 years ago, in which they lost in the 3 matches they played, with no goals scored but 5 conceded. 


A total of 16 teams took part in the 1938 World Cup in France, which consisted of only 18 matches (the fewest in history was Italy 1934). Among those 16 participants was the small country called the Netherlands East Indies, then a colony of the Netherlands (they became independent until 1950), which qualified for this World Cup almost by default. It played only one match in which it was eliminated, losing to Hungary in the Round of 16 by 6-0.


With Korea and Japan automatically qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2002 due to their status as hosts, China had a chance to qualify for the tournament for the first time in its history. They played 3 matches and lost all of them, without scoring a single goal and conceding 9 goals. To date, it has been their only participation in soccer’s most prestigious tournament.

DR Congo

Another of the teams that did not have the same name when they participated in the FIFA World Cup as they do now. DR Congo knew what it was like to play in this tournament when they participated in Germany 1974 as Zaire (the first Central African National Team to participate). Their adventure consisted of 3 matches played, all lost, with no goals scored but a scandalous 14 conceded (tied with Haiti for the most goals conceded in the same edition played). This team has not qualified again so far.

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