History of Asian Teams at the World Cup

by GemBet
asian teams

It would be fair to say that Asian teams weren’t always at the forefront of the FIFA World Cup qualifications. Then again, qualifying for the FIFA World Cup from this world region is rather difficult. With that said, some teams have managed to make it to the World Cup time and time again. Others have relentlessly pursued a World Cup appearance yet failed to get past the finishing line. Only a few teams have consistently represented Asian football with pride, respect, and dignity in the biggest tournament in football.

Taking this into account, we wish to quickly run through some of the finest achievements of Asian teams at the World Cup.


Best Performing Asian Team at the World Cup

Ever wondered which of the Asian teams performed best in this tournament? You aren’t alone! The most successful team at the FIFA World Cup over the years has been South Korea. When you look at the statistics for South Korea compared with other Asian teams, they top the charts in almost every category.

Of course, they have the best one-tournament performance as well, having reached the semi-finals in 2002 – the year they hosted the event alongside Japan. Despite this phenomenal achievement, the records don’t end there for South Korea. They also have the most appearances at the FIFA World Cup of any other team from this part of the world. 

 South Korea has competed in the World Cup 11 times, four more than their neighboring rival, Japan. As for their overall record, they have played 34 matches at the World Cup. They’ve scored 34 goals in total, yet they have won just six games while losing 19.


Most Consistent Knockout-Stage Appearances<

From the achievements mentioned above, you may think South Korea is the best-performing team, period. However, there is one metric where they were outshined by the next ‘best performing’ team overall. When a team qualifies for the World Cup, they go into a designated group.

Teams aim to make it out into the knockout stage. And that’s where Japan beats South Korea in the records. South Korea has made the knockout stage only twice in their 11 FIFA World Cup appearances. Yet Japan has made the knockout stages three times in just 7 FIFA World Cup appearances. 


Earliest World Cup Debut

It’s hard to believe that the first World Cup was played almost 100 years ago. The first World Cup event was played in 1930, yet the tournament didn’t become as world-renowned as it is today until a few decades later. Regardless, when you look at specific statistics, one Asian football team stands alone for the earliest World Cup debut. This team is Indonesia, who qualified for the World Cup in the 1938 edition held in France.

Indonesia might have failed to go beyond round one, but this is an achievement they will carry in their football legacy. We wouldn’t see another Asian country at the World Cup until 1954 – South Korea. Therefore, Indonesia claims the title of the first Asian team to make it to the biggest stage in world football. The problem for Indonesian football fans is that they haven’t made it to the finals of a World Cup since then. 


Most Qualifying Attempts

The last World Cup achievements we wish to discuss relates to the most qualifying attempts. The qualifying format from Asia has changed quite a bit since the first World Cup in 1930. These days, teams must qualify through the Asian Federation Conference.

While it’s not the most competitive of the FIFA qualifying conferences, its structure makes qualification extremely difficult. If we take the 2022 World Cup as an example, the AFC included 46 nations, all bidding to qualify for Qatar in four qualification stages. This brings us to the last of the achievements of Asian teams.

Of course, bidding to qualify for the FIFA World Cup is a huge achievement, and in terms of the most qualifying attempts, the top five teams include Hong Kong (13), Malaysia (13), Thailand (13), Taiwan (12), and Singapore (12). It would be fair to say that the most intense rivalry is between Malaysia and Singapore. The games with these teams are always fiery, and they can get quite heated.

Then again, there is nothing strange about a healthy sports rivalry between two neighboring countries, a phenomenon that can be seen across the world as much as it’s apparent in Asia.



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