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More than a few familiar faces return
by Paul Kennedy, December 4th, 2013 11:19PM

TAGS:  world cup 2014


[WORLD CUP 2014: By the Numbers] Since the World Cup was expanded to 32 teams, no World Cup has seen so little turnover than the 2014 tournament. And all but two finalists have played one of the last two World Cups. For a look at the 2014 World Cup by the numbers.

Bosnia-Herzegovina will be the only newcomer at the 2014 World Cup. Bosnians, including the current BiH coach Safet Susic, who played in the 1990 World Cup, played through the years on the Yugoslavia team that went to seven World Cups before that team's breakup began after the 1990 World Cup.

Besides Bosnia-Herzegovina, only two teams -- Belgium and Colombia -- have not played in one of the last two World Cups -- and they're both seeds. Colombia's last appearance came in 1998, Belgium's in 2002.

Besides Bosnia-Herzegovina, every team at the 2014 World Cup will have made three or more appearances in the tournament.

Only six teams will have made more consecutive appearances to the World Cup than the USA, which is returning for the seventh straight tournament: Brazil (all 20), Germany (16), Italy (14) Argentina (11), Spain (10) and South Korea (8).

There are only eight changes from four years ago in the field of 32. Every other tournament has had 12 or more new teams in the finals since the World Cup was expanded to 32 teams in 1998.

Out in 2014:
Denmark (first round)
New Zealand (first round)
North Korea (first round)
Paraguay (quarterfinals)
Serbia (first round)
Slovakia (round of 16)
Slovenia (first round)
South Africa (first round)

In in 2014:
4 Colombia
11 Belgium
16 Croatia
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 Russia
23 Ecuador
31 Costa Rica
45 Iran

Seventeen teams -- more than half the field -- will have played in three or more consecutive World Cups.

The highest ranked team not in the World Cup is Ukraine, 18th in the current FIFA rankings. It lost in the European playoffs to France, which is 19th, after blowing a 2-0 lead in the first leg.

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