1974 (West Germany)
To most of those under the age of 50 and many of those who have attained and past their own personal half century, the name Zaire will mean either the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ or nothing at all. This was short-lived, post-independence name of the Belgium Congo, the huge central African country now known as Congo DR that made it’s sole FIFA World Cup appearance in West Germany in 1974. Drawn in a Group with holders Brazil, Scotland and Yugoslavia they proceeded to lose all three matches 0-3, 0-2 and 0-9 respectively. The irony, not wasted on Scotland, was that with all the other games in the Group drawn, Zaire’s results determined the outcome of the Group and Scotland were eliminated on goal difference going home as the only unbeaten team in the entire tournament. However, there is one moment that this young nation will be remembered for as long as football is played, if nothing else it shows that there truly was an age of innocence, even in football! The ref really should have booked him.
Honourable mentions to Haiti and East Germany who also made their one and only appearances to date