And while they may not be associated with international football more than once every few years, Montserrat and Belize, ranked 202nd and 172nd respectively by FIFA, took centre stage with their first leg qualifier on Wednesday.
The football fantasy of playing in a World Cup Finals is an unrealistic one for both nations but it no doubt filled the thoughts of the 22 players involved as they took the field before kick off.
In stark contrast to the usual dream scenario of playing in front of thousands of cheering supporters, the game had to be moved to the Ato Bolden Stadium in Trinidad due to a lack of an adequate facility in Montserrat with just 150 people showing up to take in the action.
Montserrat included manager Kenny Dyer in their starting line up who, at the ripe old age of 46, also captains the side. Going into the game the tiny nation with a population of less than 6000 had won just two games since their entry to international competition in 1991.
Their opponents meanwhile were lucky enough to include a few professionals in their ranks, most notably goalkeeper Shane Orio who is currently first choice for CD Marathon in Honduras.
The game was a bit of a goalfest as Belize set themselves up nicely to progress with a 5-2 win, thanks in large part to a hattrick from Deon McCauley, though there were no television cameras there to record his special moment.
“It’s a great feeling to get three goals in a FIFA World Cup qualifier,” he said.
“It’s the first time I’ve scored a hat-trick in international football at senior level and there’s no better match to do in than the first one for Brazil 2014. I thought we played well together as a team and that was the key. It would be a really great achievement for us to advance to the final stages of qualifying in CONCACAF.”
Kenny Dyer was understandbly upset with the result considering the sides were level at half time but is optimistic ahead of Sunday’s second leg which takes place in Belmopan, Belize this coming Sunday.
“We put in a lot of effort in our preparation and it all fell apart in the second half in the space of ten minutes or so,” he said.
“That was the most disappointing thing for me because we did well in the first half. At half-time we thought there was a good chance we could get something from this game but it didn’t turn out that way. Now we’ve got to regroup and get ourselves ready for the next game. We can still hold our heads high and go to Belize and come away with a positive result.”
The official World Cup draw takes place in Rio on July 30 and the aim of this and four other two legged encounters (Anguilla v Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands v British Virgin Islands, Aruba v St. Lucia and Bahamas v Turks and Caicos) is to determine who gets a spot in the CONCACAF Qualifiers proper.
By the time we find out the participants for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil there will have been 832 competitive matches played and the Montserrat against Belize tie will be nothing but a distant memory but for 180 minutes at least both have had the opportunity to chase the dream most of us will never get the chance to.