***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 4 periods away (depending on your own set of menstrual 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 New Caledonia, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
From World Champions in 1998 to equal worst in Oceania in 2022
Nickname: Les Cagous (The Kagus)
FIFA Ranking: 160 (June 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from group stage of Oceania qualification tournament, finishing bottom of group
Oh how the mighty have fallen. A mere 24 years ago, New Caledonia’s sole officially international recognized FIFA team, France–with New Caledonian born Christian Karembeu pulling the strings in midfield)–gloriously lifted the World Cup, stunning Brazil and the world to become world champions for the very first time. Now–yikes, this is painful–only 24 years later, New Caledonia, now a FIFA member in its own right, are ranked 160th in the world and, most recently, not only failed to even qualify for the World Cup, but finished dead last in the qualification route in the world’s weakest confederation, Oceania. Uff. Talk about twisting the knife.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, fans of the national team from this tiny French overseas territory in the Pacific could have its cake and eat it too. Up until it was unfortunately granted full FIFA membership in 2004, not only could it compete in regional tournaments such as the Oceania Nations Cup (finishing third twice, in 1973 and 1980), but when the World Cup rolled around, fans could ditch their New Caledonia gear, throw on their best French attire and jump on the Les Blues bandwagon. And this reached a zenith in 1998, when they celebrated France’s World Cup triumph with cheers of ‘Allez Les Blues!‘ and ‘QU’EST-CE QU’UNE NOUVELLE-CALÉDONIE?! (WHAT’S A NEW CALEDONIA?!)’
Despite its national soccer federation forming in 1928, New Caledonia’s close links to France (and particularly its national soccer federation) precluded it from going it alone, developing its own identity on the field, due to FIFA’s stipulations preventing national teams from the same country facing each other. Sadly, thanks to the bullshit ass 1998 Nouméa Accord that laid out a roadmap for the country’s transition to greater control, increased autonomy and “self-sufficiency” and a subsequent nebulous and totally made up sui generis nation status, New Caledonia’s FIFA team is not world champions anymore (and with France winning again in 2018, it totally would be. MOTHERFUCKER!). Instead of New Caledonians witnessing their team battle to lift the World Cup, fans of its new fully FIFA-eligible national team, Les Cagous, can now enjoy watching their team battle to not be the worst side in the world’s shittiest confederation (which, at the moment they are). Allez Les Cagous!
One to watch: Any coins, wiring, or rechargeable batteries
Look around you… see any coins? Particularly Canadian, US, or the nickel-plated steel coins from the UK that sparked a controversy about nickel allergies? Or what about rechargeable batteries, wiring or steel that has been plated in nickel in order to prevent corrosion and withstand higher temperature, or electric guitar strings, microphone capsules, plating on plumbing fixtures, or jet engines? Got any of those things lying about? Well, if you do, and you most likely do, you can give 10% of a thank you to New Caledonia!
Home to a tenth of the world’s entires stock of nickel, New Caledonia is who you should be 10% thanking for the many fine nickel-related products that have made your life easier. So from now on, anytime you happen to find yourself in the presence of the aforementioned nickel-related products, sure, there’s 90% of a thank you that you should direct to Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines (among others), but 10% of every thank you needs to be said at New Caledonia.
So, yeah, go on, do it, say it. Say 10% of a thank you to New Caledonia for all the nickel in your life.
REPEAT: “10% of a thank you, New Caledonia!”
The Highpoint: Everything since it became a FIFA member (except for the shit it took in bed in 2022)
Things have really gone south for New Caledonia in the full FIFA international arena since 1998 (see above), but ever since gaining full FIFA membership in 2004, the team has actually become one of the stronger teams in Oceania. In September 2008 (just two years shy of New Zealand’s 2010 World Cup heroics), it was Oceania’s highest ranked nation at 95, and in its three forays in the OFC Nations Cup since it became a part of FIFA, Les Cagous have finished runners-up twice (in turn falling just short of qualifying for the 2009 and 2013 editions of the FIFA Confederations Cup) and third in the most recent edition in 2016. The signs looked promising coming into the centralised World Cup qualification tournament in Qatar this past March, but then New Caledonia went and shat the bed, finishing equal last in the tournament and nowhere near a qualification berth for Qatar 2022. Supporters will be hoping this defecation in its own sleeping quarters and fractious state of the nation due to its constant wrangling with France over independence aren’t a sign of further messy bed whoopsies to come.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
Based on their recent performance in Qatar, thankfully no