David Owen: Bosnia aside, my fix of new World Cup blood is drying up before its time

More than 83 years after 13 teams contested the inaugural competition in Uruguay, the flow of FIFA World Cup debutants has slowed to a trickle.

Of the 32 countries who have fought their way through to next year’s showpiece in Brazil, only Bosnia and Herzegovina have never been to the World Cup finals before. It was a similar story three years ago in South Africa where Slovakia were the only newcomers.

The only previous occasion when there was just the one newbie came the first time the competition visited Brazil, in 1950. Then, the newbie in question was England. At that time, though, the World Cup tournament was much smaller than it is today. In fact, just 13 teams ended up playing in it.

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