In their seven attempts at qualifying for the FIFA World Cup™ finals, Sierra Leone have never come close to qualifying. They did though, have one moment of glory after advancing to the second round. That was in the 2002 edition, when they managed to turn a 2-0 first leg deficit against São Tomé e Príncipe into a 4-2 aggregate victory in the return leg and went through to the next round.
In the second round, the Leone Stars had their greatest moment in FIFA World Cup history, when they beat Nigeria, one of the powerhouses of African football 1-0. What made the result really remarkable was that Nigeria at that stage were far from certain of qualifying for Korea/Japan and after losing in Freetown looked like going out.
In the African pre-preliminary qualifying round for Germany 2006, Sierra Leone were drawn against Congo and hoped to emulate the success of the previous competition by advancing to the next round. A 1-0 victory for the Diables Rouges in Brazzaville left everything wide open for the return leg.
Shortly before the match in Freetown though, the home side's chances took a knock when FIFA ruled that the country's star striker, Mohammed Kallon would not be able to play after failing a drugs test. They still managed to open the scoring through Ibrahim Koroma's penalty, but that tally was cancelled by Rolf Ngue Mien, and the tie ended 2-1 against the Leone Stars.
Sierra Leone's low ranking meant they were forced to play in the preliminary round of the qualifiers for South Africa 2010, where they battled to overcome Guinea Bissau. In the end they scraped a 1-0 aggregate win, scoring at home in Freetown in the second leg. It was enough to see them through to the group phase where they have been paired with Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and South Africa.