***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about two moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Cyprus, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
Haven’t entered the final third since 1974
Nickname: Galanolefki (The White and Blues)
FIFA Ranking: 110 (October 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from group stage (UEFA) finishing 5th in group below Croatia, Russia (later suspended), Slovakia, Slovenia and above Malta
The national football team of Cyprus represents an island nation of just 1.2 million people, but despite its lack of size and resources and talent, it’s managed to pull off more than the odd shock in World Cup or Euro qualifying. That said, there’s only so much it can do without being allowed to access to the final third of the territory.
Success at international level is reliant on a team’s players having access to the entire pitch in order improve their chances of scoring by getting as close to goal as possible. Yet since 1974, Cyprus has only had access to two third of its turf. The Cypriots have knocked off their local rivals Greece multiple times, pulled off a 4-4 away draw with Portugal, and even defeated Spain 3-2 in a Euro 2000 qualifier back a shitton of years ago in 1999. These results have been made all the more remarkable considering the fact that for the last 38 years, Turkey and its puppet state Northern Cyprus have restricted its access to the final third of the area, meaning it is forced to take nothing other than low percentage pot shots from long-range.
Cyprus’ imposed tactic of firing from distance has helped the national team pull off a shock here and there, but so long as Northern Cyprus prevents it even from entering its final third, Cyprus is forever going to struggle to get into a third spot in its qualifying group, let alone reach the actual World Cup.
One to watch: How many more gross hankies get attached to the Paphos wishing tree
The site of the Catacombs of Saint Solomoni is the location of the famous wishing tree of Cyprus. A monument to the martyr Solomoni, who was killed by the king of Syria after refusing to accept idolatry and give up their faith in God, visitors to the tree attach ribbons and gross hankies with the believe that the Saint will grant them their wishes of fertility, prosperity, protection of their loved ones and care for the deceased in the afterlife.
How many more gross hankies can possibly be attached to it to make it look even more icky? Who knows, but it wouldn’t kill the Cyprus national team to tie a couple of its own disgusting hankies to it, in an attempt to, I don’t know, maybe finish above second last in a qualifying group for once, what do ya reckon?
The Highpoint: A bunch of random wins scattered amongst failed qualification campaigns
Cyprus have never gotten seriously close to even a playoff spot in the World Cup (though they did fall just shy in qualifying for Euro 2016), but scattered throughout their World Cup misery are a few random claims to fame.
Its best result in World Cup qualifying came in the France 98 campaign, where Cyprus managed to draw with Russia and beat Israel at home, and knock off Luxembourg twice. These were bookended by some other rando highlights like beating Spain 3-2 in Euro 2000 qualifying, managing a 1-1 away draw with Germany in qualifying for Euro 2008, defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-2 in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup (after trailing 2-0) and most recently, it managed the seemingly impossible feat of defeating itself (Greece) in the UEFA Nations League.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
16 Nov 2022
CYPRUS 🇨🇾 x 🇧🇬 BULGARIA