As one of the founder members of the Confederation of African Football, the others being Egypt, South Africa and Ethiopia - Sudan has a footballing history that goes back many years. They were also one of the first African countries to become members of FIFA. That was in 1947, at a time when most other African countries had not yet achieved their independence and were still under colonial rule.
Given their history, it is hardly surprising that Sudan was the third African country (after Egypt and Palestine) to enter the FIFA World Cup™ preliminaries. That was in 1958, when they, Egypt and Ethiopia (whose entry was not accepted), entered the competition.
Sudan is sadly one of the few countries that has been knocked out without losing a game. In the first round of the qualifying competition for Sweden 1958, Sudan beat Syria 1-0 in the first round and then drew the return leg in Syria 1-1 to advance to the second round. From there they advanced to the third round without playing after Egypt and Indonesia withdrew. That left Sudan with a two-legged tie against Israel to decide which team would be playing in Sweden. For political reasons, Sudan withdrew.
That was the closest the Sokoor Al-Jediane (Falcons of Jediane) ever got to participating at the finals of the FIFA World Cup.
For Korea/Japan 2002, Sudan managed to get into the group stages after beating Mozambique, but in the second round Nigeria and Liberia proved to be too strong. The Sudanese however, managed to finish a credible third in their group, leaving Ghana and Sierra Leone behind them. What made their success even more remarkable is that they have virtually no overseas-based players to call on.
In the African preliminary qualifying round for Germany 2006 Sudan were drawn against African footballing minnows Eritrea and after winning the first match 3-0, they comfortably advanced with a goalless draw in the return leg. Unfortunately for them, the Falcons were drawn in arguably the toughest group in the following round alongside Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Egypt, Libya and Benin, and their ten matches brought just one victory, three draws and six defeats.
Sudan nevertheless bounced back from this disappointment and returned to winning ways in qualifying for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana 2008.