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TheStreet Open House

5 Biggest Countries Missing the World Cup

4. Pakistan
Population: 188 million
Population rank: No. 6

Well, we don't need to tell you how Pakistan missed this year's World Cup. Perhaps a step behind Bangladesh at this point, it's been a tough go for the Green Shirts since playing their first international match in 1950.

After Bangladesh split off in 1971, Pakistan saw its pool of players reduced and the odds against it greatly increased. It didn't even attempt to qualify for the World Cup until 1989 and didn't gain so much as a point in World Cup qualification until 2001, when it managed a 3-3 draw with Sri Lanka. Since 2000, a revolving door of managers including Englishmen Dave Burns and John Layton; Slovaks Zavisa Milosavijevic and Joseph Herel; and Hungarian-Austrian George Kottan joined a host of Pakistani colleagues in stringing together 14 consecutive years of losing campaigns. The last coach to manage four wins was Herel in 2002-03. The last coach with a winning record was German manager Burkhard Ziese, who went 11-4-2 between 1987 and 1990 before turning over the reins to a committee of coaches.

FIFA has been pouring money into the country's soccer infrastructure and established a league in Pakistan a decade ago. In cooperation with the Pakistani government and Pakistani Football Federation, Pakistan has tried to build a program through a time of great political and social upheaval. If it's proceeding too slowly, it's because Pakistan has a lot more on its mind than just soccer.

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