The Caribbean has produced many gifted footballers that have gone on to win some of the game’s biggest prizes at the club level. Sadly, however, the island nations haven’t been able to leave their mark on the FIFA World Cup with no team from the region managing qualification for the 2022 showpiece in Qatar.
Instead, football lovers from the Caribbean will have to watch on as the globe’s best teams do battle in the desert, with South American neighbors Brazil, the current favorites to win the event having been priced in the latest World Cup odds at just 7/2. Despite the lack of representation from the Caribbean, you can be certain that fans will flock to the closest TV to drink in football’s greatest event. Indeed, from Dickenson Bay in Antigua to Pigeon Point in Tobago, all eyes will be on the Middle East.
— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) March 25, 2021
Of course, with that said, those lucky enough to live in Trinidad and Tobago have had the privilege of seeing their county take part in a World Cup. Below, we look back on all the Caribbean nations to have ever taken part in FIFA World Cups.
To start with, only four countries from the Caribbean have managed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup since the inaugural event was staged in 1930 in Uruguay. The first to achieve the feat was Cuba in 1938 but it was, to some degree, by default as all the other teams in their qualifying group, Costa Rica, Dutch Guiana, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States, withdrew from trying to reach the event. Nevertheless, the Cubans made the most of this slice of good fortune by securing qualification to the quarterfinals in the 16-team tournament. However, their journey would come to a crushing end after Sweden ran riot in their last eight ties by winning 8-0.
It would take 36 years before anyone saw another Caribbean nation at the World Cup but Haiti impressively managed qualification for the 1974 event in West Germany.
By winning the 1973 Concacaf Championship Haiti qualified for the @FIFAWorldCup a year later 🇭🇹
The debutants were the clear outsider in their first game against 1970 finalist Italy but made history that day! pic.twitter.com/peF9n71HQr
— FIFA Museum (@FIFAMuseum) November 9, 2022
In many respects, the in-form Haitians were unlucky to be drawn into what was the group of death alongside Argentina, Italy, and Poland. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Haiti would go on to lose all their games and suffer a first-round exit.
Jamaica was the third Caribbean nation to ever qualify for the World Cup after they appeared at the 1998 edition in France. The Reggae Boyz made many friends over the tournament and even won their final group game, after beating Japan 2-1. Unfortunately, defeats to Argentina and Croatia preceded this win over the men from the land of the rising sun which meant the tournament’s favorite team was going home after the group stages.
Trinidad and Tobago 2006
The fourth and final team from the Caribbean to qualify for a World Cup was Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 when they took part in the tournament in Germany.
— XERIC Sports Management (@Xeric_Sports) June 6, 2021
Again, it was a similar story following a first-round exit but the Soca Warriors could leave with their heads held high after only narrowly being beaten by England while earning a draw against Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden.
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