Guinea Bissau have only entered the competition three times before the start of the qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. They faced neighbours Guinea in the first round of the qualifiers for France 1998 and after winning the first leg 3-2, they fancied their chances of advancing, but a 3-1 defeat in the return leg meant an end to their hopes.
Four years later, they were back, this time drawn against Togo and again the first round proved to be as far as they would go, as a goalless draw in the first leg was followed by a 3-0 victory for Togo in Lome.
Guinea Bissau were certainly not particularly lucky when drawn against Mali in the African pre-preliminary qualifying rounds for Germany 2006. Having lost the first leg in Bissau 2-1, Guinea Bissau did remarkably well in the return leg in Bamako and although Mali won 2-0 in the end, the side could easily have come away with an upset victory had they converted their chances.
Guinea Bissau have a large number of European-based players, many of them in Portugal and as they gain more international experience, it seems likely that the national team will grow stronger and challenge for at least a place in the second round of the African FIFA World Cup qualifying competition.
That said, experience has been hard to come by and the team have not contested an international encounter since November 2005, when they drew 2-2 with Guinea and 1-1 with Sierra Leone in friendlies. As it happens, Sierra Leone have been drawn as their opponents in the first round and unsurprisingly start the tie as favourites.