FIFA World Cup qualification: Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

FIFA World Cup qualification is the process a national association football team goes through to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Finals, or, more commonly known as the FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup is a global event, and qualification is used to reduce the large field of participants from about 200 to 32.

Qualifying tournaments are held within the six FIFA continental zones (Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Caribbean, South America, Oceania, Europe), and are organized by their respective confederations. For each tournament, FIFA decides beforehand the number of spots awarded to each of the continental zones, based on the relative strength of the confederations' teams. 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification commenced in 2007 and finished in late 2009.

The hosts of the World Cup receive an automatic berth in the finals. Unlike many other sports, results of the previous World Cups or of the continental championships are not taken into account. Until 2002, the defending champions also received an automatic berth, but starting from the 2006 World Cup they also need to enter qualifying.

Contents

History

Over many years, the World Cup's qualification has evolved, from having no qualification at all in 1930, when the tournament was invitational and only 13 teams entered, to a two-year process in 2006 which started in 1933. The first World Cup qualifying match was played on 11th June 1933 when Sweden defeated Estonia 6-2 in Stockholm. The first ever goal in a World Cup qualifying match was scored 7 minutes into the game: it was scored according to some sources by Swedish captain Knut Kroon, or according to other sources by Estonian goalkeeper Evald Tipner (own goal).

While the number of teams which qualified for the finals has increased steadily, from 16 between 1934 and 1978, to 24 between 1982 and 1994, and finally to 32 starting from 1998, the qualification format has been basically the same throughout the history of the World Cup. The teams have been grouped continentally, and they competed for a fixed number of berths, with one or two berths reserved for winners of the intercontinental play-offs.

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National teams results in World Cup preliminary competition 1934-2010

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
 Mexico 141 92 28 21 376 104 304
 Costa Rica 140 68 34 38 243 153 238
 Netherlands 105 67 22 16 241 76 223
 Yugoslavia (1934–1990)
Serbia and Montenegro FR Yugoslavia (1998–2002)
Serbia and Montenegro Serbia & Montenegro (2006)
 Serbia (2010–)
108 65 26 17 231 93 221
 Spain 99 66 22 11 226 70 220
 Soviet Union (1958–1990)
 Russia (1994-)
105 66 22 17 207 70 220
 Sweden 107 67 17 23 219 94 218
 Korea Republic 103 62 30 11 199 65 216
 Portugal 117 59 30 28 206 124 207
 United States 122 59 30 33 203 151 207
 Australia 105 60 26 19 286 83 206
 England 92 62 19 11 226 60 205
 Italy 87 61 19 7 181 51 202
 Belgium 113 60 22 31 216 131 202
 Argentina 102 59 24 19 181 96 201
 Honduras 116 57 28 31 210 130 199
 Romania 106 58 20 28 190 108 194
 Brazil 92 56 25 11 199 59 193
 Iran 94 56 24 14 201 69 192
 Paraguay 120 56 24 40 165 133 192
 Uruguay 118 52 33 33 156 119 189
 Scotland 105 54 23 28 167 112 185
 Germany (1934–1938)
 West Germany (1950-1990)
 Germany (1994-)
74 55 17 2 213 56 182
 El Salvador 118 53 23 42 193 136 182
 Saudi Arabia 92 53 22 17 173 72 181
 Bulgaria 109 53 22 34 181 149 181
 Irish Free State (1934–1938)
 Republic of Ireland (1950-)
119 47 36 36 170 141 177
 France 91 52 19 20 180 74 175
 Austria 103 50 23 30 178 114 173
 China PR 82 53 11 18 172 54 170
 Morocco 98 46 32 20 131 71 170
 Hungary 102 49 23 30 181 129 170
 Switzerland 110 47 29 34 164 133 170
 Nigeria 88 48 24 16 151 70 168
 Tunisia 88 47 23 18 151 68 164
 Denmark 100 47 23 30 170 120 164
 Poland 97 49 16 32 182 117 163
 Trinidad and Tobago 115 46 25 44 169 151 163
 Japan 88 47 20 21 173 70 161
 Colombia 118 41 37 40 132 127 160
 Chile 112 44 26 42 162 143 158
 Cameroon 71 44 15 12 122 53 147
 Greece 104 40 22 42 125 155 142
 Egypt (1) 78 41 18 19 136 71 141
 Czechoslovakia (1934–1990)(2)
Czechoslovakia
Representation of Czechs and Slovaks (1994)
72 41 16 15 146 63 139
 Northern Ireland 112 36 30 46 123 137 138
 Canada 95 36 29 30 122 116 137
 Norway 106 37 26 43 143 149 137
 Zambia 84 40 16 28 128 78 136
 Kuwait 77 41 11 25 135 72 134
 Turkey 108 38 20 50 146 165 134
 Guatemala 100 35 28 37 145 127 133
 Ecuador 109 34 27 48 123 157 129
Palestinian territories British Mandate of Palestine (1934–1938)
 Israel (1950–)
102 33 29 40 137 149 128
 Qatar 78 36 16 26 125 82 124
 New Zealand 70 36 13 21 169 75 121
 Iraq 69 35 16 18 157 73 121
 Peru 113 31 28 54 118 159 121
 Bolivia 116 33 21 62 144 216 120
 Côte d'Ivoire 63 33 20 10 115 55 119
 Algeria 73 32 21 20 95 72 117
 Jamaica 80 32 20 28 95 100 116
 Ghana 67 32 17 18 98 55 113
 Korea DPR 69 32 17 20 99 65 113
 Haiti 76 32 15 29 123 109 111
 Wales 100 30 20 50 129 144 110
 United Arab Emirates 71 31 16 24 112 78 109
 Guinea 64 31 10 23 100 78 103
 Finland 111 28 17 66 120 265 101
 Bahrain 74 26 22 26 82 77 100
 Zaire (1958–1997)
 Congo DR (1997-)
61 28 13 20 101 72 97
 Syria (1) 62 27 15 20 137 69 96
 Uzbekistan 58 27 13 18 123 72 94
 Angola 53 23 18 12 71 48 87
 Ukraine 48 23 17 8 65 36 86
 Czech Republic (1998–) (2) 46 26 7 13 90 34 85
 Croatia 38 23 12 3 75 33 81
 Slovakia (1998–) (2) 44 23 10 11 82 47 79
 Cuba 60 20 17 23 83 91 77
 Rhodesia (1970)
 Zimbabwe (1974-)
57 21 14 22 59 71 77
 East Germany 47 22 8 17 87 65 74
 South Africa 36 22 5 9 43 29 71
 Oman 46 19 12 15 89 47 69
 Senegal 47 18 15 14 64 43 69
 Togo 53 19 12 22 62 70 69
 Dutch East Indies (1938)
 Indonesia (1950-)
63 18 15 30 79 113 69
 Hong Kong 63 19 12 32 78 115 69
 Venezuela 106 18 14 74 87 259 68
 Kenya 56 18 12 26 60 82 66
 Thailand 65 18 12 35 89 116 66
 Fiji 43 19 7 17 103 82 64
 Dutch Guiana (1938-1974)
 Suriname (1978-)
57 17 13 27 85 96 64
 Iceland 84 16 15 53 83 191 63
 Upper Volta (1978)
 Burkina Faso (1990-)
45 18 7 20 66 66 61
 Slovenia 42 16 12 14 55 50 60
 Sudan 56 15 15 26 53 84 60
 Gabon 43 17 7 19 49 51 58
 Libya 43 16 9 18 50 49 57
 Latvia 55 15 12 28 65 92 57
 Malaysia 47 14 12 21 58 71 54
 Jordan 42 15 8 19 54 54 53
 Congo (3) 46 15 8 23 46 63 53
 Singapore 52 15 8 29 57 88 53
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 38 15 7 16 58 50 52
 Solomon Islands 33 15 6 12 91 68 51
 Lithuania 53 13 11 29 43 80 50
 Malawi 51 12 13 26 52 77 49
 Liberia 49 13 10 26 34 73 49
 Panama 58 13 10 35 57 124 49
 Curaçao (1958)
 Netherlands Antilles (1962-)
48 10 14 24 33 95 44
 Albania 84 11 11 62 53 164 44
 Cyprus 94 11 10 73 74 266 43
 Lebanon 32 11 9 12 58 43 42
 Turkmenistan 30 13 3 14 50 43 42
 Belarus 40 11 9 20 48 60 42
 Estonia 56 11 8 37 46 127 41
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 42 12 4 26 58 116 40
 North Yemen (1986-1990)
 Yemen (1994-)
38 10 9 19 47 60 39
 Kazakhstan 40 11 6 23 59 81 39
 Mali 26 11 5 10 39 34 38
 Bermuda 26 10 7 9 60 38 37
 Madagascar 31 10 7 14 36 41 37
 Macedonia 40 9 9 22 49 71 36
 Dahomey (1974)
 Benin (1986-)
36 10 5 21 36 77 35
 Tajikistan 20 10 4 6 47 17 34
 Vanuatu 31 10 3 18 65 72 33
 Georgia 38 8 9 21 40 65 33
 India 31 8 9 14 34 64 33
 New Caledonia 16 9 4 3 38 15 31
 Uganda 28 9 4 15 29 49 31
 Sierra Leone 37 8 7 22 27 57 31
 Tahiti 25 8 6 11 30 57 30
 Barbados 27 8 4 15 27 55 28
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 20 8 3 9 43 36 27
 Kyrgyzstan 21 8 2 11 28 34 26
 Ethiopia 31 6 8 17 34 54 26
 Cape Verde 20 7 3 10 19 26 24
 Rwanda 27 6 6 15 23 38 24
 Armenia 42 4 12 26 30 83 24
 Bangladesh 36 7 3 26 26 86 24
 Tanzania 25 4 10 11 24 31 22
 Antigua and Barbuda 26 6 4 16 28 69 22
 Dominican Republic 19 6 3 10 23 37 21
 Niger 20 6 3 11 15 33 21
 Namibia 31 5 6 20 24 75 21
 Mozambique 24 5 5 14 22 38 20
 Gambia 16 5 4 7 14 22 19
 Botswana 24 5 4 15 18 38 19
 Tonga 16 6 0 10 18 70 18
 Faroe Islands 50 5 3 42 26 139 18
 Grenada 15 5 2 8 39 33 17
 Burundi 14 5 2 7 10 17 17
 Vietnam(4) 28 5 2 21 20 63 17
 Maldives 22 5 2 15 28 95 17
 Azerbaijan 38 3 7 28 12 74 16
 Chinese Taipei 48 4 4 40 24 176 16
 Saint Lucia 14 5 0 9 18 28 15
 Western Samoa (1994-1998)
 Samoa (2002-)
14 5 0 9 25 39 15
 Papua New Guinea 10 4 2 4 22 19 14
 Palestine 14 4 2 8 19 27 14
 Sri Lanka (5) 27 3 5 19 19 67 14
 Moldova 38 2 8 28 19 75 14
 Luxembourg 114 3 4 107 54 381 13
 Malta 82 1 9 72 25 247 12
 Guyana 20 3 2 15 16 45 11
 Chad 10 3 1 6 10 15 10
 Liechtenstein 40 2 4 34 18 121 10
 Macau 31 3 1 27 13 148 10
 Montenegro 10 1 6 3 9 14 9
 Dominica 12 2 3 7 12 35 9
 Swaziland 13 2 3 8 5 28 9
 Bahamas 10 2 3 5 10 35 9
 Puerto Rico 17 2 3 12 13 49 9
 Nepal 24 2 2 20 15 87 8
 Equatorial Guinea 10 2 0 8 7 17 6
 Guinea-Bissau 8 1 2 5 5 13 5
 Mauritania 14 1 2 11 7 33 5
 Belize 12 1 2 9 8 35 5
 Mauritius 16 1 2 13 12 44 5
 Laos 14 1 2 11 6 76 5
 Andorra 32 1 2 29 12 109 5
 Saarland 4 1 1 2 4 8 4
 Aruba 10 1 1 8 12 31 4
 Djibouti 9 1 1 7 5 40 4
 South Vietnam (4) 3 1 0 2 1 5 3
 São Tomé and Príncipe 4 1 0 3 2 13 3
 Turks and Caicos Islands 6 1 0 5 2 24 3
 Lesotho 14 0 3 11 6 33 3
 Cook Islands 14 1 0 13 8 55 3
 Eritrea 4 0 2 2 0 7 2
 Somalia 7 0 2 5 1 15 2
 Cayman Islands 8 0 2 6 3 19 2
 Seychelles 10 0 2 8 6 26 2
 British Virgin Islands 6 0 2 4 4 27 2
 Cambodia 14 0 2 12 5 54 2
 Pakistan 26 0 2 24 11 112 2
 San Marino 46 0 2 44 8 205 2
 South Yemen 2 0 1 1 4 7 1
 Tuvalu 4 0 1 3 2 22 1
 Anguilla 6 0 1 5 2 27 1
 Nicaragua 12 0 1 11 5 32 1
 Philippines 9 0 1 8 2 39 1
 Mongolia 10 0 1 9 4 44 1
 Central African Republic 2 0 0 2 1 4 0
 Comoros 2 0 0 2 2 10 0
 Timor-Leste 2 0 0 2 3 11 0
 Myanmar (6) 2 0 0 2 0 11 0
 Afghanistan 4 0 0 4 1 18 0
 Montserrat 5 0 0 5 2 33 0
 U.S. Virgin Islands 5 0 0 5 1 35 0
 Guam 2 0 0 2 0 35 0
 Brunei 12 0 0 12 2 57 0
 American Samoa 12 0 0 12 2 129 0
 Bhutan N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
World Cup winners' results in World Cup preliminary competition
Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
 England 92 62 19 11 226 60 205
 Italy 87 61 19 7 181 51 202
 Argentina 102 59 24 19 181 96 201
 Brazil 92 56 25 11 199 59 193
 Uruguay 118 52 33 33 156 119 189
 Germany (1934–1938)
 West Germany (1950-1990)
 Germany (1994-)
74 55 17 2 213 56 182
 France 91 52 19 20 180 74 175

Last updated: 12 March 2010.

1Egypt and Syria formed a joint association in 1960 and entered the preliminary competition for World Cup 1962 as a joint team, called United Arab Republic, though they withdrew before playing any game. Later, Egypt entered the preliminary rounds for World Cup 1966 under the name of United Arab Republic, but withdrew yet again before playing.
2FIFA actually consider both Czech Republic and Slovakia as successors of former Czechoslovakia team. Czechoslovakia, RCS and Czech Republic together have a record of 118 World Cup qualifying matches played (67 wins, 23 draws, 28 losses, 236 goals scored, 97 goals allowed, and 224 soccer-points scored). Czechoslovakia, RCS and Slovakia together have a record of 116 World Cup qualifying matches played (64 wins, 26 draws, 26 losses, 228 goals scored, 110 goals allowed, and 218 soccer-points scored).
3Congo entered the preliminary competition for World Cup 1966 as French Congo, but their entry was not accepted by FIFA.
4The federation ruling Vietnam national football team now seems to have been established in North Vietnam (that never entered the World Cup), so it seems to make more sense not to merge the results of Vietnam and South Vietnam.
5Sri Lanka entered the preliminary competition for World Cup 1974 as Ceylon, but withdrew before playing any game.
6Myanmar entered the preliminary competition for World Cup 1950 as Burma, but withdrew before playing any game.

Qualification spots by continent

The table below lists the numbers of spots allocated by FIFA for each continent in each tournament. Places in the intercontinental play-offs count as 0.5 spots. Numbers in bold represent the winners of the intercontinental play-offs. "+C" denotes an additional spot for defending champions. "+H" denotes an additional spot for hosts.

Places allocated for continents
Continental zone 1934
Italy
(16)
1938
France
(15)1
1950
Brazil
(13)2
1954
Switzerland
(16)
1958
Sweden
(16)
1962
Chile
(16)
1966
England
(16)
1970
Mexico
(16)
1974
West Germany
(16)
1978
Argentina
(16)
1982
Spain
(24)
1986
Mexico
(24)
1990
Italy
(24)
1994
United States
(24)
1998
France
(32)
2002
South Korea
Japan
(32)
2006
Germany
(32)6
2010
South Africa
(32)
2014[citation needed]
Brazil
(32)
Africa 1 / / / 0.53 0.54 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 5 5 5 5
+H
5
Asia 1 12 1 0.54 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3.5 2.5
+2H
4.5 4.5 57
Oceania / / / / / / 0.5 0.5 0.255 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Europe 12 111
+C+H
72
+C
11
+H
9.53
+C+H
94 9
+H
8
+C
8.5
+H
8.5
+C
13
+H
12.5
+C
13
+H
12
+C
14
+H
13.5
+C
13
+H
13 13.5
North and Central America
and Caribbean
1 1 2 1 1 0.5 1 1
+H
1 1 2 1
+H
2 1.255
+H
3 3 3.5 3.5 3.5
South America 2 1 4
+H
1
+C
3 3.5
+C+H
3
+C
3 2.5
+C
2.5
+H
3
+C
4 2.5
+C
3.55 4
+C
4.5 4.5 4.5 4
+H
Total 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 24 24 24 24 32 32 32 32 32
  • 1 In 1938, Austria withdrew after qualifying due to being annexed by Germany and were not replaced, so only 15 teams, 12 of them European, played in the finals.
  • 2 In 1950, India, Scotland and Turkey withdrew after qualifying and were not replaced, so only 13 teams, none of them Asian and 6 of them European, played in the finals.
  • 3 Initially in 1958, Africa and Asia together were given 1 spot, while Europe was given 9 spots. However, after Israel won the African and Asian zone without playing any matches due to withdrawals of other teams, a special play-off was arranged between them and a European team (Wales). So in effect, Africa and Asia together were given 0.5 spots, while Europe was given 9.5 spots.
  • 4 In 1962, Europe was given 8 automatic spots, plus 2 additional spots in the intercontinental play-offs, in effect giving them 9 spots. The two European teams played an African team and an Asian team respectively, and both European teams won. Therefore, 10 European teams played in the finals.
  • 5 In 1994, there were two rounds of intercontinental play-offs. First, an Oceanian team played a team from North and Central America and Caribbean, and the winner then played a South American team.
  • 6 From the 2006 qualifiers on, the defending champion no longer has an automatic spot secured.
  • 7 In 2014, the champion of Oceania qualification will join the final round of Asia qualification.

Qualification competition entrants over time

The number of teams entering the qualification process and the number of matches played have been steadily growing over time.

Number of teams entering qualification (including automatic qualifiers)
Continental zone 1934
Italy
(16)
1938
France
(15)
1950
Brazil
(13)
1954
Switzerland
(16)
1958
Sweden
(16)
1962
Chile
(16)
1966
England
(16)
1970
Mexico
(16)
1974
West Germany
(16)
1978
Argentina
(16)
1982
Spain
(24)
1986
Mexico
(24)
1990
Italy
(24)
1994
United States
(24)
1998
France
(32)
2002
South Korea
Japan
(32)
2006
Germany
(32)
2010
South Africa
(32)
Africa 3 0 0 0 11 6 21 13 24 26 29 29 26 40 38 51 51 53
Asia 2 4 3 5 7 18 22 21 27 26 29 36 42 39 43
Oceania1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 5 7 10 10 12 11
Europe 21 26 19 29 29 30 33 31 33 32 34 33 33 39 50 51 52 53
North and Central America
and Caribbean
4 7 3 5 6 8 10 14 14 17 15 18 16 23 30 35 34 35
South America 4 2 8 6 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 9 10 10 10 10
Total entrants 32 37 34 45 55 56 74 75 99 107 109 121 116 147 174 199 198 205
Teams played2 27 21 19 33 46 49 51 68 90 95 103 110 103 130 168 193 194 2003
Matches played 27 22 26 57 89 92 127 172 226 252 306 308 314 497 643 777 847 853
Goals scored 141 96 121 208 341 325 393 542 620 723 797 801 735 1446 1922 2452 2464 2344
Average goals per match 5.22 4.36 4.65 3.65 3.83 3.53 3.09 3.15 2.74 2.87 2.60 2.60 2.34 2.91 2.99 3.16 2.91 2.75
  • 1 Because the Oceania Football Confederation has used the World Cup Qualifiers as a phase of (or as the entire) Oceania Nations Cup, there is the possibility for non-FIFA countries to enter in matches that double as World Cup qualifiers. In the 2006 qualifiers, New Caledonia were included in the tournament although they were not FIFA members at the date of close of entries. They are, however, included in the 12 nations listed as they joined FIFA during the course of qualification, even though they had been technically eliminated from contention a few days earlier (a similar situation occurred in the entries for 2010, with Montenegro's entry accepted prior to their admission by FIFA). By contrast, Tuvalu have entered the 2007 South Pacific Games Football tournament, which double as qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. They are not included in the 11 OFC entrants, although their results will have an impact on qualification.
  • 2 "Teams played" is the total number of teams that played at least one qualifying match.
  • 3 This number include Tuvalu and South Africa. Although South Africa were automatically qualified for 2010 as hosts, they competed in the CAF qualifiers, becoming the first hosts to compete in World Cup qualifying since 1934. This is because the Confederation of African Football used its 2010 World Cup qualifiers as the qualifying phase for the 2010 African Cup of Nations, a tournament for which South Africa had to qualify separately.

First appearance in qualification by team

World Cup Europe South America North, Central America and Caribbean Asia Africa Oceania Total
Italy
1934
 Austria
 Belgium
 Bulgaria
 Czechoslovakia
 Estonia
 France
 Germany
 Greece
 Hungary
 Irish Free State
 Italy1
 Lithuania
 Luxembourg
 Netherlands
 Poland
 Portugal
 Romania
 Spain
 Sweden
 Switzerland
 Turkey
 Yugoslavia
 Brazil
 Peru
 Argentina
 Chile2
 Cuba
 Haiti
 Mexico
 United States
Palestinian territories Palestine  Egypt none 27
France
1938
 Finland
 Republic of Ireland
 Latvia
 Norway
 Colombia  Cuba
 Costa Rica
 Dutch Guiana
 El Salvador
 Japan
 Dutch East Indies
none none 4
Brazil
1950
 England
 Northern Ireland
 Scotland
 Wales
 Yugoslavia3
 Bolivia
 Chile
 Paraguay
 Ecuador
 Uruguay
none  Israel4
 Syria
 Burma
 Philippines
 Indonesia
 India
none none 7
Switzerland
1954
 Saarland
 Turkey
 West Germany
 Iceland
 Brazil
 Chile
 Paraguay
none  Japan
 Korea Republic
 Republic of China
 South Vietnam
none none 8
Sweden
1958
 Denmark
Germany East Germany
 Iceland
 Soviet Union
 Argentina
 Bolivia
 Colombia
 Peru
 Uruguay
 Venezuela
 Canada
 Costa Rica
 Curaçao
 Guatemala
 China PR
 Indonesia
 Hong Kong
 Sudan
 Ethiopia
none 17
Chile
1962
 Cyprus  Ecuador  Dutch Guiana
 Honduras
 Netherlands Antilles
none  Ethiopia
 Ghana
 Morocco
 Nigeria
 Tunisia
 United Arab Republic
none 10
England
1966
 Albania  Venezuela  Jamaica
 Trinidad and Tobago
 Korea DPR  Congo
 Liberia
 Guinea
 Algeria
 Libya
 Cameroon
 Mali
 Senegal
 Gabon
 South Africa
 Australia 6
Mexico
1970
none none  Bermuda
 El Salvador
none  Algeria
 Cameroon
 Libya
 Rhodesia
 Senegal
 Zambia
 New Zealand 9
West Germany
1974
 Malta none  Antigua and Barbuda
 Puerto Rico
 Hong Kong
 Iran
 Iraq
 Kuwait
 Malaysia
 South Vietnam
 Thailand
 Congo
 Côte d'Ivoire
 Dahomey
 Guinea
 Kenya
 Lesotho
 Mauritius
 Madagascar
 Sierra Leone
 Tanzania
 Togo
 Zaire
none 21
Argentina
1978
none none  Barbados
 Dominican Republic
 Guyana
 Panama
 Suriname5
 Bahrain
 Chinese Taipei
 Qatar
 Saudi Arabia
 Singapore
 Sri Lanka
 United Arab Emirates
 Malawi
 Mauritania
 Niger
 Uganda
 Upper Volta
 Central African Republic
none 15
Spain
1982
none none  Grenada  Macau  Gambia
 Liberia
 Madagascar
 Mozambique
 Somalia
 Zimbabwe6
 Fiji 9
Mexico
1986
none none none  Bangladesh
 Brunei
 India
 Jordan
 Nepal
 North Yemen
 South Yemen
 United Arab Emirates
 Oman
 Lebanon
 Angola
 Benin7
none 10
Italy
1990
none none  Belize  Oman
 Pakistan
 Maldives
 Burkina Faso8
 Gabon
 Rwanda
none 4
United States
1994
 Faroe Islands
 Russia
 San Marino
none  Nicaragua
 Saint Lucia
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
 Myanmar
 Lebanon
 Sri Lanka
 Vietnam
 Yemen9
 Botswana
 Burundi
 São Tomé and Príncipe
 Namibia
 South Africa
 Swaziland
 Solomon Islands
 Tahiti
 Vanuatu
 Samoa
18
France
1998
 Armenia
 Azerbaijan
 Belarus
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Croatia
 Czech Republic10
 Georgia
 Germany9
 Liechtenstein
 Macedonia
 Moldova
 Slovakia10
 Slovenia
 Ukraine
 Yugoslavia11
none  Aruba
 Belize
 Cayman Islands
 Dominica
 Bahamas
 Saint Kitts and Nevis
 Cambodia
 Kazakhstan
 Kyrgyzstan
 Maldives
 Philippines
 Tajikistan
 Turkmenistan
 Uzbekistan
 Congo DR12
 Guinea-Bissau
 Rwanda
 Cook Islands
 Papua New Guinea
 Samoa
 Tonga
35
South KoreaJapan
2002
 Andorra none  Anguilla
 Bahamas
 British Virgin Islands
 Montserrat
 Turks and Caicos Islands
 U.S. Virgin Islands
 Guam
 Laos
 Mongolia
 Palestine
 Cape Verde
 Central African Republic
 Chad
 Djibouti
 Equatorial Guinea
 Eritrea
 Mali
 São Tomé and Príncipe
 Seychelles
 American Samoa 22
Germany
2006
 Serbia and Montenegro13 none none  Afghanistan none  New Caledonia14 3
South Africa
2010
 Montenegro10
 Serbia10
none none  Bhutan
 Myanmar
 Timor-Leste
 Comoros  Tuvalu14 6
Total 62 10 37 50 58 13 230
  • 1 Despite being the hosts, Italy had to qualify to the tournament.
  • 2 Only teams that played at least one match are considered for the purposes of first appearance. Teams that withdrew prior to the qualification, or that qualified to the World Cup automatically due to another team's withdrawal are not considered and written Italics.
  • 3 First appearance as Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; previous appearance as Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
  • 4 First appearance as Israel; previous appearances as Palestine.
  • 5 First appearance as Suriname; previous appearances as Dutch Guiana.
  • 6 First appearance as Zimbabwe; previous appearances as Rhodesia.
  • 7 First appearance as Benin; previous appearances as Dahomey.
  • 8 First appearance as Burkina Faso; previous appearances as Upper Volta.
  • 9 First appearance after the reunification.
  • 10 First appearance after the split.
  • 11 First appearance as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; previous appearances as Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • 12 First appearance as Democratic Republic of the Congo; previous appearances as Zaire.
  • 13 First appearance as Serbia and Montenegro; previous appearances as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • 14 Not a member of FIFA at the time of the qualification.

Current format

Currently, 32 places are available in the final tournament. One of them is reserved for the host nation, but if two or more nations host the competition jointly, each is awarded a place. The 2006 Finals were the first in which an automatic entry was not guaranteed to the previous champion; 2002 winner Brazil qualified for 2006 at the top of their qualifiers group.

FIFA decides beforehand the number of spots awarded to each of the continental zones. For the 2010 World Cup, the following numbers will be used [1]:

  • UEFA (Europe) - 13 berths
  • CAF (Africa) - 5 berths, plus the host South Africa
  • AFC (Asia) and OFC (Oceania) - 4 berths for AFC countries, with the fifth going to the winners of an AFC-OFC playoff
  • CONMEBOL (South America) - 4 berths
  • CONCACAF (North and Central America and Caribbean) - 3 berths
  • 1 berth for the winners of CONMEBOL-CONCACAF playoff

These numbers vary slightly between tournaments (see above).

Qualification in all zones ends at approximately the same time, in September–November of the year preceding the finals.

The formats of the qualification tournaments differ between confederations and are outlined below.

Africa

The CAF qualification process began with a preliminary round (to narrow the field to 48 teams) prior to the main qualification draw in Durban in November 2007.

The qualifying competition for the 2010 World Cup is combined with the qualification process for the 2010 African Cup of Nations. As hosts of the World Cup, South Africa qualified automatically for the finals, but played in the qualifiers themselves (becoming the first hosts to do so since 1934 qualifying) to facilitate the African Cup of Nations version of the qualifiers.

The first group stage consisted of 12 groups of 4, with the group winners and 8 best runners-up advancing to the second group stage. That consists of 5 groups of 4 - with group winners advancing to the World Cup finals and top three nations in each group advancing to the 2010 African Cup of Nations.

Asia

Brunei, Laos and Philippines did not enter, with Bhutan given permission to enter after the official close of acceptances.

Qualifying has been substantially altered from the 2006 method, with two knock-out preliminary rounds to reduce the 43 entrants to 20, a first group stage with the top two sides from 5 groups of 4 advancing to a final group stage. The winners and runners-up of the two final groups of 5 advance to the World Cup finals with the two third-placed sides playing off for the right to play an Oceania side for a final World Cup spot.

Europe

The European qualification games started in August 2008. The 53 national teams will be divided into eight groups of six teams, and one group of five. The nine group winners will qualify directly and the best eight runners-up will play home and away play-off matches for the remaining four places.[2]

North and Central America and Caribbean

The CONCACAF qualification process[3] is identical to that for 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONCACAF). It consists of two preliminary rounds to reduce the 35 entrants to 24 and then 12 teams, followed by 3 semifinal groups of 4 teams with the top two in each group advancing to a final 6-team group.

The final round is often referred to as "the hexagonal" because of the number of teams involved.[4]

The top three teams would qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup while the fourth placed side would enter a play-off with the fifth placed CONMEBOL nation.

Oceania

Qualification in Oceania is composed of two rounds. The first round took place at the 2007 South Pacific Games, with the top 3 teams advancing to a final round group stage with New Zealand. The winner of the final group stage (New Zealand) will then play against the winner of the playoff between the two 3rd-placed Asian sides for a spot in the finals. This is a major change from the initial FIFA information on Oceania's qualification [5] which suggested inclusion in the second Asian group stage.

South America

The CONMEBOL qualification process takes approximately 25 months. Ten participating teams play each other twice in a single group. The top 4 teams advance to the World Cup finals while the 5th placed team goes into a playoff with the fourth placed CONCACAF nation.

Intercontinental play-offs

Intercontinental play-offs are played as two home-and-away matches. The team that scores a greater aggregate number of goals qualifies. Away goals rule applies. If these rules fail to determine the winner, extra time and penalty shootouts are used.

Group tournaments rules

In all group tournaments, three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss. FIFA has set the order of the tie-breakers for teams that finish level on points:

  1. goal difference in all group matches
  2. greater number of goals scored in all group matches

Where teams are still not able to be separated, the following tie-breakers are used:

  1. greater number of points obtained in matches between the tied teams
  2. goal difference in matches between the tied teams
  3. greater number of goals scored in matches between the tied teams

Where teams are still equal, then a play-off on neutral ground, with extra time and penalties if necessary will be played if FIFA deems such a play-off able to be fitted within the coordinated international match calendar. If this is not deemed feasible, then the result will be determined by the drawing of lot.

Note that this order of tie-breaker application differs from that used in the qualification for the 2006 World Cup (although it was - where applicable - used in the 2006 finals themselves). If these rules had applied in 2006, then Nigeria would have qualified rather than Angola.

Notes

  • Mexico hold several records in World Cup qualifying matches: most games played (141, followed by Costa Rica, 140), most games won (92, followed by Costa Rica, 68), most goals scored (376, followed by Australia, 286), best goal difference (+272, followed by Australia, +203) and best tally of points under the classic 3-1-0 point system (304pts, followed by Costa Rica 238pts).
  • Germany (incl. results of West Germany from 1950 to 1990) have the best point-per-game average with 2.46 PPG (followed by Italy, 2.32 PPG) and the highest amount of goals scored per game with 2.9 GPG (followed by Solomon Islands, 2.8 GPG).
  • No federation has been able to remain undefeated in preliminary competition. South Yemen was only defeated once but played only 2 World Cup qualifying matches. As South Yemen football team does not exist anymore, they cannot lose any other game in the future, and no other existing federation that took part in the World Cup qualifying process has lost less than 2 games, which means this record is likely to stand for a long time. Germany (incl. West Germany) lost only 2 games in 74 matches. Saarland and Eritrea lost 2 out of 4 games, whereas Central African Republic, Comoros, Timor-Leste, Myanmar and Guam lost 2 out of 2 games. Germany lost their first game in 1985 (vs Portugal in Stuttgart) and their second game in 2001 (vs England in Munich), which means these two games were lost at home. Brazil lost their first World Cup qualifying match ever in 1993 (vs Bolivia in La Paz).
  • Korea Republic, Italy and Brazil have the lowest ratio of goals allowed per game, with 0.6 GAPG.
  • Luxembourg hold the records for most games lost (107, followed by Venezuela, 74), most goals allowed (381, followed by Cyprus) and worst goal difference (-327, followed by Malta, -222).
  • Guam hold the record for most goals allowed per game (17.5 GAPG, followed by American Samoa, 10.8 GAPG).
  • Eritrea (4 games played), Myanmar and Guam (both 2 games played) are the only federations that never scored a goal in a World Cup preliminary competition. Eritrea completed 2 draw games, though.
  • The following nations have lost all of their World Cup quailfying matches: Brunei, American Samoa (12 games played), Montserrat, U.S. Virgin Islands (5 games played), Afghanistan (4 games played), Central African Republic, Comoros, Timor-Leste, Myanmar and Guam (2 games played).
  • Colombia holds the record for most drawn games (37) in World Cup preliminary competition (followed by Republic of Ireland, 36).
  • Several teams managed to go through their preliminary competition series winning all their matches. The most impressive series are those of Spain for 2010 (10 games played), West Germany for 1982 and Netherlands for 2010 (8 games played) and Brazil for 1970 (6 games played). West Germany reached the final in 1982 and Brazil became champions in 1970 (winning all of their games as well in the final competition). Burundi won 2 games out of 2 for 1998 but withdrew due to civil war on the following round.
  • Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago played the longest World Cup preliminary competition campaigns on the way to the World Cup 2002, having played 22 games. Though, both of them did not qualify, ending respectively 4th and 6th of the CONCACAF Final Round, whereas only the 3 top teams of this round were qualified for the World Cup.
  • Bhutan entered twice the World Cup qualifying process but withdrew twice before playing a single game, being the only federation to have entered prelminary competition and not to have played a single game.
  • Italy hold the record for most qualification berths earned through playing World Cup qualifying matches (13 times), followed by Germany and Spain (12). Brazil and Germany are the only teams that have never been eliminated in preliminary competitions: Brazil have taken part in every staging of the World Cup final competition so far, whereas Germany have not entered in 1930 and was not admitted to compete for 1950. Only once was Brazil deprived of finishing as leaders of their qualifying group, when they ended 3rd behind Argentina and Ecuador of the South American qualification group for 2002.
  • Luxembourg holds the record for most unsuccessful attempts (18) to qualify for the World Cup final competition, having actually been eliminated of each preliminary competition campaign. Finland were eliminated 17 times: they never qualified as well, but they did not enter the preliminary competition in 1934.
  • India qualified (actually without playing a single qualifying match) for the 1950 World Cup final competition but withdrew following a FIFA ruling against barefoot players. India had never been able to qualify for the World Cup before and have never been able to do so since then.
  • Iranian player Ali Daei is considered to be the World Cup preliminary competition top scorer with a tally of 30 goals scored.
  • The largest margin for a victory in World Cup preliminary competition was set when Australia defeated American Samoa 31-0 in Sydney on 11th April 2001. With 13 goals scored on this occasion, Archie Thompson set the highest amount of goals scored by a single player in a single World Cup preliminary competition game. This score helped Australia to achieve a new record, the highest amount of goals scored by a single squad during a single qualifying campaign (73 goals scored, in 8 games). Though, Australia failed to qualify as they were eliminated in the intercontinental playoffs against Uruguay.
  • Maldives hold the record for most goals allowed (59 goals allowed in 6 games) by a single squad in a single preliminary campaign, during preliminary competition of World Cup 1998. They suffered 0-17 and 9-0 losses against Iran, as well as 12-0 and 0-12 losses against Syria and 3-0 and 0-6 losses against Kyrgyzstan. Moreover, they thus failed to score a single goal to their opponents.
  • Davide Gualtieri from San Marino scored the fastest ever World Cup preliminary competition goal (9 seconds into the game) vs. England on 17th November 1993, in Bologna (Italy).
  • As of 2010, a total of 5,635 World Cup qualifying matches were played (among which 1,190 drawn games) and a total of 16,471 goals were scored (thus 2.92 goals scored per game).
  • Following territorial and political evolutions over the years, it is quite difficult to estimate the number of federations that played at least one single game in World Cup preliminary competition. Trying to stick to what FIFA seem to consider as successors of former federations or not, arguably 213 federations have competed in the World Cup preliminary competition, considering that Czechoslovakia (and RCS), Czech Republic and Slovakia form 3 distinct federations (FIFA consider both Czech Republic and Slovakia as successors of Czechoslovakia (and RCS) which is not practical to deal with in statistical work).

References

  1. ^ Clear declaration to defend the autonomy of sport, FIFA Official site. Retrieved on December 20, 2006
  2. ^ UEFA Executive Committee decisions: Format for European qualifying for FIFA World Cup 2010 decided, UEFA. Retrieved on June 24, 2007
  3. ^ CONCACAF (2007-03-27). "CONCACAF Exco meets in Netherlands Antilles". Press release. http://www.concacaf.com/view_article.asp?id=3757. Retrieved 2007-03-29. 
  4. ^ See, for example, "Third step in the hexagonal". FIFA.com. 2009-03-31. http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/newsid=1043460.html#third+step+hexagonal. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  5. ^ OFC 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP ROUTE VIA ASIA, Oceania Football Confederation Official site. Retrieved on 18 November 2009

See also

External links


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