The Congo national football team formed in 1962 and affiliated to FIFA in the same year. The team joined the Confederation of African Football in 1966. Although they are yet to qualify for a world cup, the team won the 1972 Africa Cup of Nations.
Congo played its debut game in 1960, a few years before the football federation officially formed. The team entered the L’Amitie tournament, a competition for French-speaking nations held in Madagascar. In their first ever game Congo beat Reunion 4-1. The team went on to beat the Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals but lost to Cameroon in the semi-final.
So far, Congo has not qualified for a world cup finals. The team’s first qualifying attempt was for the 1974 competition. In a two-legged first round tie, the team lost 3-2 on aggregate to Nigeria. The team tried again for the 1978 competition and were more successful, though with a little help from FIFA. Congo played Cameroon in the first round, drawing the home tie 2-2. The second leg saw the match abandoned due to riots with the score at 2-1 to Cameroon. The game was later awarded 2-0 to Congo, who then progressed with a 4-2 aggregate win. The second round on the 1978 qualifying campaign saw Congo lose 6-3 on aggregate after two matches to the Ivory Coast.
World cup 1994 saw a dip for the Congo national football team as they failed to win any matches in a first round group stage. In 1998 the team beat Ivory Coast in the first round and enjoyed a better group stage. Although heavyweights South Africa won the group, Congo won half of their matches and finished just three points from the top.
Results remained stable after the millennium. World cup 2002 saw Congo defeat minnows Equatorial Guinea in the first round but go on to finished bottom of their second round group with a single win. The 2006 competition again saw the team win in the first round, this time a 2-1 victory over Sierra Leone. The group stage was a slight improvement, Congo won three games and finished fourth of six teams. 2010 saw Congo advance to the second round automatically due to an improved ranking. The team still struggled in the group stage finishing third, tied on points with second place but with a goal difference that kept Congo from progressing.
Ranked 85th by FIFA, the Congo national football team has an eye on staying in the top one-hundred teams in the world. Getting to the later stages of qualifying campaigns will be crucial to achieve this goal.
World cup 2018
Fixtures to be announced.