WORLD CUP APPEARANCES
WORLD CUP RECORD
GOALS SCORED (RANK)
Competing as Yugoslavia, the team was one of four European countries to compete in the first World Cup. Yugoslavia won its group with a 2-0-0 record, but lost 6-1 to Uruguay in the Semi-finals.
Did Not Participate
World Cup Not Held
In 1950, only the top team from each group advanced to the final round. That worked out poorly for Yugoslavia, which was 2-0-1 in the Group Stage with a +4 goal differential, but finished second to Brazil’s 2-1-0 record. Yugoslavia ranked first among the nine teams eliminated in the Group Stage.
Yugoslavia’s 1-1-0 record – which included a draw against Brazil – was enough to advance to the Knockout Stage. In the Quarter-finals, Yugoslavia paired with eventual champion West Germany and dropped the game 2-0.
West Germany again got the better of Yugoslavia in 1958. After a 1-2-0 performance in group play, Yugoslavia advanced to the Quarter-finals for a matchup with the West Germans that resulted in a 1-0 loss.
Yugoslavia advanced to the Knockout Stage for the third time in a row, and yet again faced West Germany. A goal by Petar Radakovic delivered Yugoslavia a 1-0 victory. After losing to Czechoslovakia in the Semi-finals, Yugoslavia fell to the host nation, Chile, in the third-place game. The fourth-place finish remains the best in the country’s World Cup history.
Did Not Participate
After ending a run of four straight World Cup appearances with missed tournaments in 1966 and 1970, Yugoslavia returned in 1974 to claim its first-ever top finish in the Group Stage. The team finished 1-2-0 with 10 goals scored, but nine came in a shutout against Zaire. In the Second Round, Yugoslavia was 0-0-3, with a 2-0 loss to West Germany.
Yugoslavia’s 1-1-1 record in the Group Stage was not enough to advance to the Knockout Round. The tournament included a scoreless draw against group winner Northern Ireland, a 2-1 loss to Spain and a 1-0 victory over Honduras.
The 1990 World Cup began with a 4-1 loss to old foe West Germany, but wins against Colombia and the United Arab Emirates ensued. In the Knockout Stage, Yugoslavia defeated Spain 2-1 before losing 3-2 on penalty kicks to eventual runner-up Argentina in the Quarter-finals.
Germany and Yugoslavia had matching 2-1-0 records in group play, including a 2-2 draw in a head-to-head matchup, but Germany won the group with a superior goal differential. Yugoslavia still advanced, though, losing 2-1 to the Netherlands in the Round of 16.
Playing as Serbia and Montenegro, the team had its worst World Cup performance to date. Serbia and Montenegro’s 0-0-3 record included just two goals for and 10 goals against. The worst defeat was a 6-0 loss to Argentina.
Yet another chapter in the World Cup rivalry with Germany took place in 2010. Serbia finished 1-0-2 and failed to advance to the Round of 16, but its lone victory was a 1-0 win over Germany, the eventual third-place team.
Though the 2018 World Cup is the country’s second qualification as Serbia, FIFA considers Serbia to be a successor of Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro, thus giving the country a total of 12 appearances.