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World Cup Participation

1954, 1958, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998



Scotland National Football Team History

Along with England, Scotland has the oldest national soccer team in the world. The Scotland national football team faced England in the first ever official international match in 1872. It finished in a scoreless draw.

Before the FIFA World Cup existed, Scotland had a strong team that only lost two of their first 43 matches. Scotland was not a FIFA member during the first 3 World Cups but was readmitted before the 1950 tournament. It was eligible to participate, but withdrew from the tournament.

World Cup Debut

Scotland’s World Cup debut came in 1954. Scotland lost 1-0 to Austria in its first match, and defending champions Uruguay demolished Scotland 7-0. These 2 losses meant Scotland got eliminated in the group stage.

Scotland got its first World Cup point in 1958, with a 1-1 draw against Yugoslavia. James Murray scored the first World Cup goal to equalize the match. With losses to Paraguay and France, Scotland were once again eliminated in the group stage.

Billy Ormond brought Scotland back to the World Cup in 1974 after a 16-year wait. The Tartan Army was pleased, since Scotland went undefeated in the group stage with one win and two draws. However, Scotland was eliminated on goal difference.

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Greatest World Cup Goal of All Time  

Archie Gemmill scored one of the greatest World Cup goals of all time in a 3-2 win against the Netherlands in 1978. However, Scotland was once again eliminated on goal difference. In 1982, Scotland were eliminated on goal difference for a third consecutive World Cup.

Scotland national football team qualified for a fourth consecutive World Cup in 1986 in tragic circumstances. Needing a point against Wales to advance to the qualifying playoff versus Australia, Scotland equalized on a late penalty. Amid the ensuing celebration, Manager Jock Stein died from a heart attack. Scotland defeated Australia 2-0 over two legs to qualify for Mexico 1986, but failed to win a game at the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Last-Time Appearance at a World Cup 

Four years later, Scotland was eliminated in the group stage for a fifth consecutive World Cup. In 1992, Scotland qualified for their first European Championship but missed out on the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Scotland also qualified for Euro 1996 but were eliminated in the group stage.

Manager Craig Brown led Scotland to a second consecutive major tournament as they also qualified for the 1998 World Cup. Close to drawing with Brazil in their opener, an own goal doomed Scotland to a 2-1 defeat. Scotland drew 1-1 with Norway to keep hopes alive but lost 3-0 to Morocco in the group stage finale. That remains the last time Scotland appeared at a World Cup and they’ve never advanced out of the group stage at a major tournament.

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