Croatia play France in the final of Russia 2018, but with a population of less than five million, are they the smallest nation to ever participate in football’s biggest occasion?
Uruguay, 1930 and 1950
The first hosts, not to mention champions, are also the smallest nation to ever reach a World Cup final when you measure purely by population, rather than geographical size. In 1930, when La Celeste beat Argentina 4-2 in the final, just 1.7 million people were living in the country. By the time they repeated their success 20 years later, against hosts Brazil, their population had risen to around 2.2 million. Although their population had grown by more than 20 percent in 1950, it’s still smaller than any other nation in this list.
This year’s finalists are in their first-ever World Cup final as an independent nation. With a population of around 4.2 million, only two-time winners Uruguay have managed to make a final with a smaller talent pool. In contrast, their opponents France have a population of just under 67 million.
You might also like: A History of the Croatian Football Team
When Pelé’s Brazil won their first World Cup it came at the expense of Sweden in 1958. Like Uruguay in 1930, Sweden managed to make the final of the only World Cup that they’ve ever hosted. With a population of 7.4 million people at the time, perhaps they relied as much on their home crowd as the Uruguayans did in 1930, something Croatia don’t have the luxury of at Russia 2018.
Hungary, 1938 and 1954
Although they lost on both occasion, Hungary, a former powerhouse of world football, has reached two World Cup finals – they played Italy in 1938 and West Germany in 1954. When they lost to Italy the Hungarian population was approximately 9.1 million, while when the Mighty Magyars – one of the most talented football sides in history – lost to the Germans the country’s population had grown to around 9.7 million.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.