Although Ethiopia are a former winner and runner-up of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, these triumphs date back many, many years. As one of the oldest FIFA members from the African zone Ethiopia was one of the first African countries to play in the FIFA World Cup™ qualifying competition.
The first FIFA World Cup they entered was Chile 62, when they were drawn against Israel (in one of the European groups). Both games were played in Tel Aviv and the Israelis won 1-0 and 3-2.
Since then, Ethiopia has entered all FIFA World Cup competitions, except in 1966 (when all African countries withdrew in protest because they had no automatic qualifying place) and 1990 and 1998.
In the African pre-preliminary qualifying round for Germany 2006, the Walyas had to take on Malawi for a place in the group phase. The Flames however proved far too strong for Ethiopia and after a 3-1 home defeat in the first leg, the tie was virtually over as a contest.
Ethiopia managed a face-saving goalless draw in Blantyre in the
return leg, but the 3-1 aggregate defeat still meant that their
2006 FIFA World Cup Germany campaign had ended after just two
For the South Africa 2010 qualifying campaign, Ethiopia have been drawn in the same group with Mauritania, Morocco and Rwanda.