India has never participated in the FIFA World Cup, although they did qualify by default for the 1950 FIFA World Cup of Brazil after all other nations in their qualification group withdrew.
Reasons given by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was that there was the cost of travel, although FIFA agreed to bear a major part of the travel expenses, lack of practice time, team selection issues and valuing Olympics over FIFA World cup.
The Indian football team also played the game barefoot and it happened during the 1948 Olympics. The Indian team either played barefoot or in socks. In the first round against France, the Indians managed to hold their opponents at 1-1 until their opponent found the back of the net in the 89th minute. Following the impressive performance, King George VI invited the Indian team, coached by Syed Abdul Rahim, to Buckingham Palace. However, in the next Olympics (1952) in Helsinki, the Indians found it difficult to play barefoot and were hammered by Yugoslavia 10-1. Following their disastrous loss, the AIFF made it mandatory for the players to wear boots.
Santiago Leon is the Founder and CEO of the Sports Cast. He covers NFL, NBA, and world soccer. He’s also founder of sleon productions, which he specializes in technology and serves clients with solutions to make their business grow.