International Debrief: The World Cup Hangover

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WITH 2014 World Cup débutantes Bosnia struggling in their Euro 2016 qualifying group, Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) took a deeper look at whether there is a hangover to a debut World Cup appearance?

The World Cup Hangover

There have been many eye-catching moments in these absorbing Euro 2016 qualifiers so far, and one of them for me has been the decline of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Yes, it’s probably too early to write them off, but there’s been a definite slump in their form since they played at the World Cup in the summer. Bosnia have failed to win any of their opening qualifiers, losing at home to Cyprus and drawing with Wales and Belgium. Is this is a hangover from their World Cup experience? Very possibly yes.

Bosnia were the only débutantes at the 2014 World Cup, the first time just one side had filled that role. It must have been an amazing occasion for them qualifying and then playing at their first ever finals. The kind of experience that takes time to recover from perhaps? There is a real pattern here of European sides playing in their first World Cup and then failing to qualify for the subsequent European Championships. In fact, just two sides have ever qualified for the European Championships after playing in a debut World Cup two years before. Remarkable eh?

The Soviet Union (1960) and Denmark (1988) are those particular sides to achieve the feat. Some of the sides that failed were classic teams as well. Republic Of Ireland reached the Quarter-Finals of Italia 90 but couldn’t finish above England in their Euro 92 qualifying group and missed the showdown in Sweden while Croatia knocked out European champions Germany in 1998 but couldn’t qualify for Euro 2000. Croatia remarkably finished only third in their five-team qualifying group. Not good enough.

The last three examples of this study, Serbia, Ukraine (2006 into 2008) and Slovakia (2010 into 2012) failed to make the Top 2 in their Euro qualifying group after reaching the World Cup for the first time in the competition before that. This of course doesn’t bode well for Bosnia. But with the new expanded format allowing all sides who finish in the qualifying Top 3 to earn either automatic qualifying or a play-off, it gives them a great chance to bust that trend. Here are the 11 sides who failed to follow up a debut World Cup appearance with a place at the European Championship:

  • Bulgaria – Played in World Cup for the first time in 1962, failed to qualify for the 1964 European Championships
  • Portugal – Played in World Cup for the first time in 1966, failed to qualify for the 1968 European Championships
  • East Germany – Played in World Cup for the first time in 1974, failed to qualify for the 1976 European Championships
  • Denmark – Played in World Cup for the first time in 1986, QUALIFIED for the 1988 European Championships
  • Republic Of Ireland – Played in World Cup for the first time in 1990, failed to qualify for the 1992 European Championships
  • Greece – Played in World Cup for the first time in 1994, failed to qualify for the 1996 European Championships
  • Croatia – Played in World Cup for the first time in 1998, failed to qualify for the 2000 European Championships
  • Slovenia – Played in World Cup for the first time in 2002, failed to qualify for the 2004 European Championships
  • Serbia – Played in World Cup for the first time in 2006, failed to qualify for the 2008 European Championships
  • Ukraine – Played in World Cup for the first time in 2006, failed to qualify for the 2008 European Championships
  • Slovakia – Played in World Cup for the first time in 2010, failed to qualify for the 2012 European Championships
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Chris first got interested in betting back in 2000 when he began working in betting shops throughout Scotland. He has remained in the industry ever since, specialising in marketing and PR roles. Outside of betting, his interests are listening to Blur and following Queen Of The South.

2 Comments

  1. Interesting stuff.

    However, small mistake in that Denmark DID qualify for the 1988 European Championships only to bow out after 3 straight losses in the groupstage.

    • Profile photo of Chris Graham

      Thanks for the kind comments. Totally embarrassed that I got Denmark wrong. I’m not sure how I missed that, I’m usually meticulous with research. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

      Chris

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