Listed below are the dates and results for the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds for UEFA teams. A total of 51 teams took part, divided in 8 groups – five groups of six teams each and three groups of seven teams each – competing for 13 places in the World Cup. Germany, the hosts, were already qualified, for a total of 14 European places in the tournament. The qualifying process started on 18 August 2004, over a month after the end of UEFA Euro 2004, and ended on 16 November 2005. Kazakhstan, which transitioned from the Asian Football Confederation to UEFA after the end of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, debuted in the European qualifiers.
2006 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)
|Dates||18 August 2004 – 16 November 2005|
|Teams||51 (from 1 confederation)|
|Goals scored||778 (2.76 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)|| Pauleta (11 goals)|
The teams in each group would play against each other in a home and away basis. The team with the most points in each group would qualify to the World Cup. The runners up would be ranked. For the sake of fairness, in groups with seven teams, results against the seventh placed team were ignored. The two best ranked runners up would also qualify to the World Cup. The other six runners up were drawn into three home and away knock out matches, winners of those matches also qualifying.
The race to join hosts Germany at the 2006 FIFA World Cup featured an unlikely winner in Europe, where Ukraine became the first team to qualify, having finished above Turkey, Denmark and Greece in arguably the continent's toughest qualifying group.
France had its first successful World Cup qualifying campaign in twenty years as they had missed the 1990 and 1994 tournaments, then qualified automatically as hosts in 1998 and as defending champions in 2002.
Serbia and Montenegro and Croatia also advanced to Germany at the head of their sections, the former forcing Spain into the play offs in the process. Besides the eight group winners, two teams progressed automatically as best runners up, namely Poland and Sweden while the play offs offered a second chance to six others.
The draw was made on 5 December 2003 in Frankfurt, Germany. Germany qualified automatically as hosts. The other seedings were determined by points per game in the qualifiers for 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification and UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying. France qualified automatically for the 2002 FIFA World Cup as title holders, so only their record in UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying was used. Portugal qualified automatically for UEFA Euro 2004 as hosts, so only their record in World Cup 2002 was used. Kazakhstan were not ranked by this system as they did not participate in either competition.
For domestic clubs involved in international club competitions reasons, England, France, Italy and Spain were drawn into groups of 6 teams.
The national teams which eventually qualified for the final tournament are presented in bold and the national teams who took part in the play-offs are presented in italic.