In addition to the 115 current FIFA nations that have been represented in the Premier League, several of their former incarnations and the like have appeared too. In this article, we list these national teams. These include defunct nations, former names of current nations as well as national teams who are not recognised by FIFA.
This is almost certainly not an exhaustive list. Please let us know if we have missed anything!
Many Premier League players previously represented FIFA nations that no longer exist. We list these nations, below.
The Soviet Union, or USSR, collapsed in 1991. They had already qualified for Euro 1992 however, and FIFA allowed them to compete in the tournament under the new banner of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), who inherited the records and were considered the successor of the USSR national team.
The CIS was not at any point a politically recognised country, merely a temporary footballing vessel to allow the players to compete in a tournament they had qualified for. CIS disbanded immediately after Euro 1992 after finishing bottom of their group. In the aftermath, the union split to form the current crop of nations in both a political and footballing context.
Russia became the direct successor of CIS and the USSR before them, inheriting their records and history. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan were all either born (or reborn in the case of the three Baltic nations), in the early 1990s following the dissolution of the USSR and redundancy of CIS. Andrei Kanchelskis and Dmitri Kharin both won caps for the USSR and CIS, including at Euro 1992.
In very similar circumstances to the USSR a couple of years prior, Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the middle of qualifying for the 1994 World Cup. Since the qualifying phase had begun prior to the split, the two new nations were allowed to continue to compete under the name Representation of Czechs and Slovaks. RCS failed to qualify, and the nations have competed separately since.
The Czech Republic is considered the successor to the Czechoslovakia national team and inherited its records and history, including their second-place finishes at the 1934 and 1962 World Cups. Former West Ham and QPR goalkeepers Luděk Mikloško and Jan Stejskal both played for Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic at international level.
The predecessor of Curaçao, the Netherlands Antilles competed as a FIFA nation until 2010. The split formed three new footballing nations; Curaçao, Bonaire and Sint Maarten. Curaçao is considered the successor of the Netherlands Antilles national team, while the latter two are not recognised by FIFA.
Former West Brom defender Shelton Martis won caps for the Netherlands Antilles and Curaçao.
Yugoslavia/FR Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro
Yugoslavia were the nation that were banned from competing at Euro 1992, which famously opened the door for Denmark to take their place and win the tournament.
Yugoslavia’s composition changed radically over several iterations. As a FIFA association, the now smaller Yugoslavia continued through the 1990s as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, later renamed as Serbia and Montenegro in 2003.
Serbia and Montenegro then themselves split, with Serbia inheriting the records and history of all of the previous carnations of Yugoslavia as a national team. Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia and Slovakia are the other modern FIFA nations that were part of Yugoslavia at the time of the 1992 collapse.
Several Premier League players played for FR Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro, but we believe only Saša Ćurčić made an appearance for the pre-1992 Yugoslavia national team.
West Germany/East Germany
The tale of the two former German footballing nations differs from those above, as this is a case of two nations forming one, rather than the other way around. West Germany was considered the successor to the original Germany national team of pre-1950, and Germany inherited the records of West Germany following its reunification in 1990.
East Germany remains one of very few officially defunct football nations. We believe they are the only one to have been represented in the Premier League however, by former Manchester City striker Uwe Rösler.
Nations who have changed name
These differ from the above because no reconfiguration of land borders occurred. No countries were born or absorbed, rather an existing country simply changed its name. Below we list these nations under their former name, which at least one Premier League player appeared for.
Rhodesia became formally known as Zimbabwe in 1980. Former Liverpool and Southampton goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar won one cap while the nation was known as the Rhodesia national team.
Zaire became formally known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997. We believe Michel Ngonge is the only Premier League player to have played for the country while it was known as Zaire.
Republic of Macedonia
Also known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or just Macedonia, the Republic of Macedonia formally changed its name to North Macedonia in 2019. No Macedonian has appeared in the Premier League since the name change.
Several other “national” teams have been represented in the Premier League without being recognised by FIFA. Most of these are autonomous or dependent regions contained entirely within a FIFA nation. These unrecognised nations cannot compete in FIFA competitions but may compete in continental competitions if they belong to a confederation.
Players are able to play for such nations in addition to their FIFA-recognised national team. Below, we list these special nations, with a mention of a Premier League player who has previously made an appearance for them.
Andalusia – José Antonio Reyes
Catalonia – Cesc Fàbregas
Basque Country – Xabi Alonso
French Guiana – Florent Malouda
Galicia – Iago Aspas
Guadeloupe – Pascal Chimbonda
Martinique – Julien Faubert
Brittany – Yann Kermorgant
Corsica – Sébastian Squillaci
Matabeleland – Bruce Grobbelaar
Unofficial appearances for a FIFA nation
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles made one unofficial appearance for the Cayman Islands before FIFA ruled him and others called up in the same manner, ineligible. He later represented Jamaica at international level but is listed as English on the Premier League website.