1978 FIFA World Cup qualification

A total of 107 teams entered the 1978 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, which began with the preliminary qualification draw on 20 November 1975 at Guatemala City. Argentina, as the hosts, and West Germany, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition.

1978 FIFA World Cup Qualification
Tournament details
Dates7 March 1976 – 11 December 1977
Teams107 (from 6 confederations)
Tournament statistics
Matches played252
Goals scored723 (2.87 per match)
Top scorer(s)Italy Roberto Bettega (9 goals)
1974
1982

The 16 places would be distributed among the continental zones as follows:

  • Europe (UEFA): 9 or 10 places. One place went to automatic qualifier West Germany, while nine places were contested by 31 teams. The team coming ninth in qualifying would advance to the intercontinental play-offs against a team from CONMEBOL.
  • South America (CONMEBOL): 3 or 4 places. One place automatically went to host nation Argentina, while the other three places were contested by nine teams. The team coming third in qualifying would advance to the intercontinental play-offs (against a team from UEFA).
  • North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF): 1 place, contested by 17 teams.
  • Africa (CAF): 1 place, contested by 26 teams.
  • Asia (AFC) and Oceania (OFC): 1 place, contested by 22 teams.

A total of 95 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 252 qualifying matches were played, and 723 goals were scored (an average of 2.87 per match).

Continental ZonesEdit

To see the dates and results of the qualification rounds for each continental zone, click on the following articles:

Group 1 - Poland qualified.
Group 2 - Italy qualified.
Group 3 - Austria qualified.
Group 4 - Netherlands qualified.
Group 5 - France qualified.
Group 6 - Sweden qualified.
Group 7 - Scotland qualified.
Group 8 - Spain qualified.
Group 9 - Hungary advanced to the UEFA / CONMEBOL Intercontinental Play-off.
Brazil and Peru qualified.
Bolivia advanced to the UEFA / CONMEBOL Intercontinental Play-off.
Mexico qualified.
Tunisia qualified.
Iran qualified.

EuropeEdit

UEFA Group 1Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   Poland 6 5 1 0 17 4 +13 11
2   Portugal 6 4 1 1 12 6 +6 9
3   Denmark 6 2 0 4 14 12 +2 4
4   Cyprus 6 0 0 6 3 24 −21 0

Poland qualified.

UEFA Group 2Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   Italy 6 5 0 1 18 4 +14 10
2   England 6 5 0 1 15 4 +11 10
3   Finland 6 2 0 4 11 16 −5 4
4   Luxembourg 6 0 0 6 2 22 −20 0

Italy qualified.

UEFA Group 3Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   Austria 6 4 2 0 14 2 +12 10
2   East Germany 6 3 3 0 15 4 +11 9
3   Turkey 6 2 1 3 9 5 +4 5
4   Malta 6 0 0 6 0 27 −27 0

Austria qualified.

UEFA Group 4Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   Netherlands 6 5 1 0 11 3 +8 11
2   Belgium 6 3 0 3 7 6 +1 6
3   Northern Ireland 6 2 1 3 7 6 +1 5
4   Iceland 6 1 0 5 2 12 −10 2

Netherlands qualified.

UEFA Group 5Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   France 4 2 1 1 7 4 +3 5
2   Bulgaria 4 1 2 1 5 6 −1 4
3   Republic of Ireland 4 1 1 2 2 4 −2 3

France qualified.

UEFA Group 6Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   Sweden 4 3 0 1 7 4 +3 6
2   Norway 4 2 0 2 3 4 −1 4
3    Switzerland 4 1 0 3 3 5 −2 2

Sweden qualified.

UEFA Group 7Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   Scotland 4 3 0 1 6 3 +3 6
2   Czechoslovakia 4 2 0 2 4 6 −2 4
3   Wales 4 1 0 3 3 4 −1 2

Scotland qualified.

UEFA Group 8Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   Spain 4 3 0 1 4 1 +3 6
2   Romania 4 2 0 2 7 8 −1 4
3   Yugoslavia 4 1 0 3 6 8 −2 2

Spain qualified.

UEFA Group 9Edit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1   Hungary 4 2 1 1 6 4 +2 5
2   Soviet Union 4 2 0 2 5 3 +2 4
3   Greece 4 1 1 2 2 6 −4 3

Hungary advanced to the UEFA–CONMEBOL play-off.

South AmericaEdit

CONMEBOL First roundEdit

Group 1Edit

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
1   Brazil 6 4 2 2 0 8 1 +7
2   Paraguay 4 4 1 2 1 3 3 0
3   Colombia 2 4 0 2 2 1 8 −7
20 February 1977 Colombia   0 – 0   Brazil Bogota, Colombia
Referee: Comesaña (Argentina)

24 February 1977 Colombia   0 – 1   Paraguay Bogota, Colombia
Jara   26' Referee: Orozco Guerrero (Peru)

6 March 1977 Paraguay   1 – 1   Colombia Asuncion, Paraguay
Jara   90' Vilarete   58' Referee: Cerullo Giuliano (Uruguay)

9 March 1977 Brazil   6 – 0   Colombia Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Roberto   15'31'
Zico   25'
Marinho   41'55'
Rivellino   85'
Referee: Coerezza (Argentina)

13 March 1977 Paraguay   0 – 1   Brazil Asuncion, Paraguay
Insfrán   59' (o.g.) Referee: Pestarino (Argentina)

20 March 1977 Brazil   1 – 1   Paraguay Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Roberto   6' (pen.) Báez   54' Referee: Barreto Ruiz (Uruguay)

Brazil advanced to the Final Round.

Group 2Edit

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
1   Bolivia 7 4 3 1 0 8 3 +5
2   Uruguay 4 4 1 2 1 5 4 +1
3   Venezuela 1 4 0 1 3 2 8 −6
9 February 1977 Venezuela   1 – 1   Uruguay Caracas, Venezuela
Flores   88' Oliveira   5' Referee: Ramirez (Colombia)

27 February 1977 Bolivia   1 – 0   Uruguay La Paz, Bolivia
Jiménez   48' Referee: Arppi Filho (Brazil)

6 March 1977 Venezuela   1 – 3   Bolivia Caracas, Venezuela
Iriarte   86' Mezza   5'
Jiménez   76'
Aguilar   80'
Referee: Silvagno Cavanna (Chile)

13 March 1977 Bolivia   2 – 0   Venezuela La Paz, Bolivia
Jiménez   17'
Aragonés   53'
Referee: Pérez Nuñez (Peru)

17 March 1977 Uruguay   2 – 0   Venezuela Montevideo, Uruguay
Pizzani   11'83' Referee: Marques (Brazil)

27 March 1977 Uruguay   2 – 2   Bolivia Montevideo, Uruguay
Pereyra   23'49' Aguilar   25'59' Referee: Ithurralde (Argentina)

Bolivia advanced to the Final Round.

Group 3Edit

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
1   Peru 6 4 2 2 0 8 2 +6
2   Chile 5 4 2 1 1 5 3 +2
3   Ecuador 1 4 0 1 3 1 9 −8
20 February 1977 Ecuador   1 – 1   Peru Quito, Ecuador
Paz y Miño   81' Oblitas   43' Referee: Rohrig (Brazil)

27 February 1977 Ecuador   0 – 1   Chile Guayaquil, Ecuador
Gamboa   33' Referee: Romero (Argentina)

6 March 1977 Chile   1 – 1   Peru Santiago, Chile
Ahumada   42' Muñante   70' Referee: Faville Neto (Brazil)

12 March 1977 Peru   4 – 0   Ecuador Lima, Peru
José Velásquez]   19'
Oblitas   48'50'
Luces   63'
Referee: Barrancos Alvarez (Bolivia)

20 March 1977 Chile   3 – 0   Ecuador Santiago, Chile
Figueroa   29'55'
Castro   40'
Referee: Llobregat Vicedo (Venezuela)

26 March 1977 Peru   2 – 0   Chile Lima, Peru
Sotil   49'
Oblitas   54'
Referee: Coelho (Brazil)

Peru advanced to the Final Round.

CONMEBOL Final roundEdit

Rank Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
1   Brazil 4 2 2 0 0 9 0 +9
2   Peru 2 2 1 0 1 5 1 +4
3   Bolivia 0 2 0 0 2 0 13 −13
10 July 1977 Brazil   1 – 0   Peru Cali, Colombia
Gil   53' Referee: Comesana (Argentina)

14 July 1977 Brazil   8 – 0   Bolivia Cali, Colombia
Zico   5'10'27' (pen.)60'
Roberto   22'
Gil   54'
Cerezo   70'
Marcelo   89'
Referee: Cavanna (Chile)

17 July 1977 Peru   5 – 0   Bolivia Cali, Colombia
Cubillas   31'44'
José Velásquez   65'89'
Rojas   74'
Referee: Barreto Ruiz (Uruguay)

Brazil and Peru qualified. Bolivia advanced to the UEFA / CONMEBOL Intercontinental Play-off.

North, Central America and CaribbeanEdit

Decided by 1977 CONCACAF Championship.

Inter-confederation play-offs: UEFA v CONMEBOLEdit

The teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis. The winner would qualify.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Hungary   9–2   Bolivia 6–0 3–2

Qualified teamsEdit

 
Final qualification status
  Country qualified for World Cup
  Country failed to qualify
  Country did not enter World Cup
  Country not a FIFA member

The following 16 teams qualified for the 1978 FIFA World Cup:

Team Finals Appearance Streak Last Appearance
  Argentina (h) 7th 2 1974
  Austria 4th 1 1958
  Brazil 11th 11 1974
  France 7th 1 1966
  Hungary 7th 1 1966
  Iran 1st 1
  Italy 9th 5 1974
  Mexico 8th 1 1970
  Netherlands 4th 2 1974
  Peru 3rd 1 1970
  Poland 3rd 2 1974
  Scotland 4th 2 1974
  Spain 5th 1 1966
  Sweden 7th 3 1974
  Tunisia 1st 1
  West Germany (c) 9th 7 1974

(h) - qualified automatically as hosts

(c) - qualified automatically as defending champions

5 of the 16 teams subsequently failed to qualify for the 1982 finals: Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden and Tunisia.

Top goalscorersEdit

9 goals
7 goals
6 goals

NotesEdit

  • For the first time, over 100 teams entered qualification for the World Cup.
  • Statistically, this was the most difficult World Cup to qualify for. Taking the two automatic places into account, and excluding twelve teams who withdrew before playing, 95 teams competed for the remaining 14 places (14.7%). The number of spots was increased to 24 for the next World Cup.
  • Tunisia's victory over Morocco on penalties was the first penalty shootout in World Cup qualification matches.

External linksEdit