Although they have never advanced to a major tournament, Cyprus have put on some fine performances along the way, drawing with France in the qualifying phase of Italy 1990 and posting a surprise 3-2 defeat of Spain ahead of UEFA EURO 2000. Those results cost respective opposition coaches Henri Michel and Javier Clemente their jobs, but they proved isolated highlights for the victors, who have traditionally lacked consistency over the course of a campaign.
The current crop
Cyprus kicked off their EURO 2012 qualifiers in explosive form, recording a 4-4 draw in Portugal on 3 September 2010, though that quickly proved a false dawn. The present side appears to possess the same habit of blowing hot and cold that plagued previous generations, and to make the next step Cyprus will need to turn their gift for one-off displays into a sustained rhythm of success.
The key players
Michalis Konstantinou and captain Ioannis Okkas have been the side’s most important performers for more than ten years, and Cyprus’ bid to reach Brazil 2014 looks likely to prove the final challenge for both players.
Best performance in a FIFA competition: None
Former stars: Pambos Pittas, Marios Agathokleous