The long standing members of the Eurovision family who have yet to go home with the grand prize.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 saw Euphoria crowned as the sixtieth winning song. Since the inaguaral contest in 1956, twenty-six different countries have won the grand prix at least once. Even though fifty-one seperate countries have been represented at Eurovision only just over half of these have actually won. This article will look at the five nations that have notched up the most entries but have yet to finish at the top of the scoreboard.

Croatia

Debut: 1993

Number of Entries: 20

Best Result: 4th (1996, 1999)

We'll start off this list with Croatia. Still a relatively recent addition to the fold, Croatia made their debut in Millstreet in 1993 after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. They are one of the few nations to have not missed a contest since making their debut and they managed to survive the relegation systems used during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Croatia has been in the top ten six times with their best results being fourth place for Maja Blagdan in 1996 and Doris Dragovic in 1999 (Doris had also represented Yugoslavia in 1986). Croatia attained four top ten placings in a row in the late nineties and early 2000s, however, their fortunes have taken a dive recently as they have failed to qualify to the final in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Although Croatia has never won the Eurovision Song Contest as an independent state, it could argued that they can boast a victory as Riva's Rock Me, Yugoslavia's winning song from 1989 was sent to Eurovision by the Croatian broadcaster. Croatia also was responsible for thirteen of Yugoslavia's twenty-six Eurovision entries between 1961 and 1992 and has hosted the contest as the 1990 edition was held in Zagreb.

Doris Dragovic performing for Croatia in Jerusalem, 1999

Iceland

Debut: 1986

Number of Entries: 25

Best Result: 2nd (1999, 2009)

Iceland, the last of the Nordic nations to participate at the contest, sent their first entry to Bergen in 1986. They did not have a strong start at Eurovision and had to wait until their fourth appearance to get a top ten result. Since then Iceland has scored five top ten places. Iceland acheived some respectable results during the 1990s but had a difficult time with the introduction of the semi final format in 2004. They were qualified directly to the 2004 final as a result of Birgitta's good showing in Riga the previous year but failed to qualify to the final in 2005, 2006 and 2007. From 2008 onwards, Iceland qualified to the final in five consecutive contests, even though this didn't translate into successful results.

Iceland's worst result was in 1989 when they failed to score a single point.

Even though Selma's 1999 entry All Out of Luck is the closest the Icelanders have come to tasting victory, Yohanna's Is it True? holds the record for their most successful points haul, racking up 218 at the 2009 final.

Yohanna, the runner-up at the 2009 final in Moscow

Malta

Debut: 1971

Number of Entries: 25

Best Result: 2nd (2002, 2005)

Malta took part at the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 1971 and finished last. They managed to repeat this the following year and became the only country to date to finish last on their first two tries. Malta returned once more in 1975 but after failing to reach the top ten, they withdrew and wouldn't grace the Eurovision stage again until 1991.

Malta returned for the Rome contest in 1991 with a change of tactic. As English is an official language of Malta - under the Eurovision language rules of the time - they were permitted to send entries in English, being one of only three countries able to do so along with the United Kingdom and Ireland. Georgina Abela and Paul Giordimaina sang Malta to sixth place in Rome and started a run of eight consecutive top ten placings. Between 1991 and 2002 Malta only once finished outside of the top ten, in 1999.

Chiara, who has represented Malta three times is responsible for two of her country's best results. She finished a close third in 1998 (only eight points behind the winner) and she went on to finish second at the 2005 contest. Ira Losco also achieved a second place for Malta in 2002, finishing just twelve points behind winners, Latvia.

Since the introduction of the semi finals, Malta failed to qualify in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. Although Malta no longer regularly feature in the top ten, they remain the most successful country of those yet to win.

Chiara singing 'Angel' for Malta in Kyiv, 2005

Cyprus

Debut: 1981

Number of Entries: 30

Best Result: 5th (1982, 1997, 2004)

The Cypriots made their debut in Dublin in 1981. Their Eurovision record got off to a strong start with a sixth place, improving with a fifth place in 1982 with Anna Vissi returning to the contest to represent her homeland after singing for Greece in 1980. After this strong start, Cyprus would have to wait until 1987 for another top ten finish and since then their results have varied. The scores achieved in subsequent years put them close to the top ten but luck changed in the mid-nineties with Cyprus notching up three top 10 places in 1995, 1996 and 1997 respectively.

Cyprus have accomplished a further two top ten places since then but since the introduction of the semi finals, results have been largely miserable, with failure to qualify in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. This is in sharp contrast to their biggest ally in the contest, Greece. The two nations are well-known for exchanging their douze points but historically, Greece has often been represented at the contest by Cypriot artists. Greece also attracts higher profile names to perform at Eurovision and generally, these artists are already well known in Cyprus.

Anna Vissi representing her homeland in Harrogate, 1982

Portugal

Debut: 1964

Number of Entries: 46

Best Result: 6th (1996)

Portugal first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen in 1964 and they finished joint last with nul points. Portugal is the country that has entered the most times without pulling off a victory. Not only have they never won the contest, Portugal has never even finished within the top five. The closest the Portuguese have come to breaking the top five was the sixth place achieved by Lúcia Moniz in Oslo in 1996. Portugal has in fact, only made the top ten nine times in forty-six attempts.

Portugal consistently fails to set the scoreboard alight and has had dismal results in both the semi finals and the final. The selection process used by the Portuguese broadaster RTP, Festival da Canção, often uses dated musical styles and songs that would not translate to an audience outside the country. Portugal also has a tradition of sticking with their native language and has to be given credit for this as they have never sent a song performed completely in English even though it could give them a fighting chance and bring in more points.

Portugal acutally managed to qualify from the semi finals in 2008, 2009 and 2010 after not being present at a Eurovision final since 2003 but failed in both 2011 and 2012. Even though Portugal does not get excellent results, they have only missed three contests since 1964.

Lúcia Moniz performing Portugal's most successful entry to date - O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor in Oslo, 1996

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