Angola, a former Portuguese colony, signed up for the World Cup qualifying rounds for the first time in 1986. On their debut Angola failed narrowly against Algeria, while four years later they were beaten by Cameroon. A single victory in the next round of qualifiers against Togo was insufficient to keep their finals dream alive, while in the 1998 qualifiers even four victories was not enough to take them through.
Despite permanent underdog status against stronger African teams, Angola's performance improved in subsequent years. In 2000 they celebrated a record 7-1 triumph over Swaziland before finishing second in their qualifying group behind Cameroon. On October 8, 2005, they qualified for the World Cup for the first time ever, after beating Rwanda 1-0 in Kigali.
- The Angola national football team is nicknamed Palancas Negras (the "Black Impalas")
- In 2005, they qualified for the World Cup for the first time ever, after beating Rwanda 1-0 in Kigali.
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