One-hit wonders: 5 unlikely nations who featured at the World Cup only once

Zaire 1974 World Cup

Panama and Iceland will make their debuts at the 2018 World Cup after qualifying this week. We remember five nations who also made it to football's biggest stage just once

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1. Dutch East Indies (1938)

One Southeast Asian nation has qualified for the World Cup.... technically.

Before their independence from the Netherlands, the Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia) featured at the 1938 World Cup in France and became the first Asian nation to do so.

But their qualification was almost a gift - with one designated place in Asia contested by two teams

But their qualification was almost a gift, with one designated place in Asia contested by two teams (Japan later withdrew). It was little surprise, then, that the Dutch East Indies lost 6-0 in their first game to Hungary and were eliminated.

Indonesia were suspended from international football in 2015 – a ban which was later lifted – but that ruled them out of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

2. Zaire (1974)

They only made one appearance at football's biggest tournament, in 1974, but Zaire (present day DR Congo) produced one of the most bizarre moments the World Cup has ever seen.

Their campaign began with a 2-0 loss to Scotland, before a 9-0 humilation in the hands of Yugoslavia.

In their final game with Brazil, the already-eliminated African side were down 2-0 and the Brazilians had a free-kick to extend their lead. A Zaire defender (seemingly unaware of the rules) dashed out from the wall, booted the ball upfield and was booked for his troubles.

The team were allegedly told by the country's dictator Mobutu Sese Seko that they couldn't return home if they lost by more than four goals.

Brazil still went on score, but Zaire could stil return home, having 'only' lost 3-0.

On the bright side, DR Congo can still qualify for their second World Cup in 2018, if they win their final group game and group leaders Tunisia lose.

3. Canada (1986)

The Canadians made their sole World Cup appearance in 1986, after beating Honduras 2-1 in the qualification stages.

Not only did they qualify, but the Canucks rubbed salt into the wounds of neighbours United States, who'd failed to make the cut for the tournament.

Canada haven't qualified for the World Cup since 1986

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, mind: Canada failed to score and lost all three of their games in Mexico, although a dogged performance in a 1-0 loss to Michel Platini's France was an admirable achievement.

They were knocked out in the second round of 2018 World Cup qualification.