Haiti’s passion for football is extreme, and the islanders were attempting to qualify for the game’s biggest spectacle as far back as 1934. While those early forays were an up-and-down experience, they began to put the pieces together through the 1960s, culminating in the country’s crowning achievement in 1974. Under long-time coach Antoine Tessy, and with substantial government support, the national team became only the second side from the Caribbean to qualify for a FIFA World Cup™, beating Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras to book passage to the 1974 finals in West Germany after reaching the final round of qualifying for Mexico 1970. They were led by outstanding striker Emmanuel Sanon and managed to align power, strength and speed into a dangerous brew. It remains the nation’s only-ever appearance at a world finals, and in qualifying for South Africa 2010, they finished well off the pace in their preliminary group.
Hoping to recapture the glory days in 2014, they fell flat in the first group stage and lost out on a place in the next round to lowly Antigua and Barbuda in one of the early shocks on the road of the qualifying process.
Best performance in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Germany 1974 (Group stages)
Former stars: Emmanuel Sanon, Henri Francillon, Phillippe Vorbe