No No ... Please don't be surprised! As we are reaching close to the semis of FIFA 2010, you will be glad to know that India qualified by default for the 1950 FIFA World Cup finals as a result of the withdrawal of all of their scheduled opponents. What an achievement ;) However, the governing body All India Football Federation (AIFF) decided against going to the World Cup, being unable to understand the importance of the event at that time. The reason given by AIFF was that there was not enough practice time along with selection problems, although FIFA had agreed to bear a major part of the travel expenses. What the ----?
There is a long-standing myth that India refused to play because they were not allowed to play barefoot, but according to the then Indian Captain Shailen Manna, the reality is that it was just a story to cover up the disastrous decision of the AIFF. Indian Football Team captain Sailen Manna had this to say, "We had no idea about the World Cup then. Had we been better informed, we would have taken the initiative ourselves. For us, the Olympics was everything. There was nothing bigger."
The team has never since come close to qualifying for the World Cup!
Here is India's glory (WTF) at the FIFA World Cup over the years ....
- 1930 to 1938 - Did not enter
- 1950 - Qualified but withdrew
- 1954 - Entry not accepted by FIFA
- 1958 to 1970 - Did not enter
- 1974 - Did not enter
- 1978 to 1982 - Did not enter
- 1986 to 2010 - Did not qualify