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No double Dutch for the East Indies

Steven LynchMarch 28, 2014
Dutch East Indies played just a single game at the 1938 World Cup © Getty Images
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Which is the only country to play just one match at the World Cup finals? asked Derek Holman

These days even the unluckiest countries get to play three matches in their qualifying group at the World Cup finals (in 1990, Sweden uniquely lost all three 2-1).

But that wasn't always the case, and in 1934 and 1938 the finals were a straight knockout, which meant some teams had a long journey for just one game.

Most of the teams eliminated appeared in subsequent tournaments ... except one.

The Dutch East Indies reached the 1938 finals in France after Japan withdrew from their qualifying group.

On the opening day of the finals they faced Hungary in Reims - and lost 6-0. The Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia) have not reached the finals since.

Eight other teams have lost every match they've played in the finals: Canada, China, El Salvador, Haiti, Iraq, Togo, the United Arab Emirates, and Zaire.

All of them lost three out of three, except El Salvador, who have qualified twice - in 1970 and 1982 - but lost all six games.

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