FIFA World Cup qualification

The FIFA World Cup qualification is a set of competitive matches that a national association football team plays in order to qualify for one of the available berths at the final tournament of the men's FIFA World Cup.

FIFA World Cup qualification
Founded1933; 91 years ago (1933)
RegionInternational (FIFA)
Number of teams211 (currently eligible)
215 (overall)
WebsiteOfficial website
2026 FIFA World Cup qualification

Qualifying tournaments are held within the six FIFA continental zones, each organized by their respective confederations: AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania), and UEFA (Europe). For each World Cup, FIFA decides the number of places in the finals allocated to each of the zones, based on the numbers and relative strengths of the confederations' teams.

As a courtesy, the host receives an automatic berth selection, as has happened with the immediate past tournament winner during much of the competition's history. All other finalists are determined on a standalone qualifying round achievement without regard to previous achievements.

History edit

The berths for the inaugural 1930 tournament were filled by invitation only. The 1934 one was the first one to have an actual qualifying phase. The first ever World Cup qualifying match was played on 11 June 1933, when Sweden defeated Estonia 6–2 in Stockholm, and the first goal was scored 7 minutes into the game, with some sources[1] attributing it to Swedish captain Knut Kroon while others[which?] credit it as an own goal by the Estonian goalkeeper Evald Tipner.

The number of teams entering qualification stages has increased steadily, and in response the final tournament has also been expanded (having 16 teams until 1978, then 24 between 1982 and 1994, then 32 between 1998 and 2022, and finally 48 from 2026 onwards). While the format of the qualifying tournaments has evolved, teams have always been grouped into zones which have remained relatively unchanged and roughly correspond to the continents. The teams from each zone compete for a fixed number of berths for the zone, with a limited number of places being awarded to winners of intercontinental play-offs.

Qualification berths by continent edit

The table below lists the numbers of berths allocated by FIFA for each continent in each tournament. It also shows the total number of teams that entered and played in every qualification cycle.

In the table, "H" denotes an automatic spot for the host, "C" denotes an automatic spot for the defending champion, and "inv" indicates the number of teams that were invited in 1930. Places in intercontinental play-offs are represented as fractions, as follows:

  • 0.5 – a place in a direct play-off
  • 0.25 – a place in a semi-final play-off (where the winner would then face yet another team for a spot in the finals)
  • 13 – a place in a play-off tournament where two out of six teams would qualify
Places allocated for continents
 
1930
[a]
 
1934
 
1938
 
1950
 
1954
 
1958
 
1962
 
1966
 
1970
 
1974
 
1978
 
1982
 
1986
 
1990
 
1994
Europe 4 inv 12 11
+H+C
7
+C
11
+H
9[b]
+H+C
8+
2×0.5
9
+H
8
+C
8.5
+H
8.5
+C
13
+H
12.5
+C
13
+H
12
+C
Africa 1 0[c] 1[b] 0.5 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3
Asia 1 1 1 0.5 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Oceania [d] 0[c] 0[c] 0[c] 0[c] 0.5 0.5 0.25
North and Central America
and Caribbean
2 inv 1 1 2 1 1 0.5 1 1
+H
1 1 2 1
+H
2 1.25
+H
South America H+
6 inv
2 1 4
+H
1
+C
3 3.5
+H+C
3
+C
3 2.5
+C
2.5
+H
3
+C
4 2.5
+C
3.5
Total berths 13 16 16 16 24
Teams in the finals 15[e] 13[f]
Entered qualification[g] 32 34 32 37 51 54 69 69 97 105 107 119 111 145
Played in qualification[h] 27 21 19 33 46 49 51 68 90 95 103 110 103 128
Qualified via qualification 14 10 9 13 14 14 14 14 14 14 22 22 22 22
Qualified without playing 13 2 6 7 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
1998
 
 
2002
 
2006
 
2010
 
2014
 
2018
 
2022
 
 
 
2026
 
 
 
2030
 
2034
Europe 14
+H
13.5
+C
13
+H
13 13 13
+H
13 16 2H
Africa 5 5 5 5
+H
5 5 5 9+13 H
Asia 3.5 2.5
+2H
4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5
+H
8+13 H
Oceania 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1+13
North and Central America
and Caribbean
3 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3+
13
+3H
South America 4
+C
4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5
+H
4.5 4.5 6+13 3H
Total berths 32 48
Teams in the finals
Entered qualification[g] 172 196 197 205[i] 203 210 211[j]
Played in qualification[h] 168 193 194 199[i] 202 208 204[j]
Qualified via qualification 30 29 31 31 31 31 31 45 42 47
Qualified without playing 2 3 1 1 1 1 1 3 6 1
Notes
  1. ^ Berths were given by invitation only.
  2. ^ a b Actually the berths were taken by 10 European teams and no African or Asian ones. After Israel won the African/Asian zone without playing due to withdrawals of other teams, a special play-off was arranged between them and a European team, Wales, and was won by the latter.
  3. ^ a b c d e None entered.
  4. ^ No teams from the region were members of FIFA before 1950.
  5. ^ Austria withdrew after having qualified.
  6. ^ India, Scotland and Turkey withdrew after having qualified. France initially accepted to participate as a replacement but then withdrew as well.
  7. ^ a b Includes all teams that entered qualification, even if they withdrew or were excluded afterwards, or qualified by walkover. Does not include pre-determined automatic qualifiers.
  8. ^ a b Only includes teams that played at least one qualifying match that was not annulled.
  9. ^ a b Including host South Africa and non-FIFA member Tuvalu, which participated because other tournaments also served as World Cup qualifiers.
  10. ^ a b Including host Qatar, which participated because another tournament also served as World Cup qualifiers.

First appearance in qualification by team edit

Only teams that played at least one match are considered for first appearance. Teams that withdrew before the qualification, or that qualified to the World Cup by walkover due to other teams' withdrawals, are not considered.

Year Debuting teams Successor and renamed teams
Europe South America North, Central America and Caribbean Asia Africa Oceania T CT
 
1934
  Austria
  Belgium[a]
  Bulgaria
  Czechoslovakia[A]
  Estonia
  France[a]
  Germany[B]
  Greece
  Hungary
  Irish Free State[C]
  Italy[N 1]
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Netherlands
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania[a]
  Spain
  Sweden
   Switzerland
  Yugoslavia[a][D]
  Cuba
  Haiti
  Mexico[a]
  United States[a]
  Palestine, British Mandate[E]   Egypt[F] 27 27
 
1938
  Finland
  Latvia
  Norway
3 30
 
1950
  England
  Ireland[G]
  Scotland
  Turkey[b]
  Wales
  Syria 6 36   Ireland[C]
  Israel[E]
 
1954
  Saar   Brazil[c]
  Chile[d]
  Paraguay[e]
  Japan[f]
  South Korea
6 42   Northern Ireland[G]
  Republic of Ireland[C]
  West Germany[B]
 
1958
  Denmark
  East Germany
  Iceland
  Soviet Union[H]
  Argentina[g]
  Bolivia[e]
  Colombia[f]
  Peru[h]
  Uruguay[i]
  Canada
  Costa Rica[f]
  Guatemala  Territory of Curaçao[I]
  China
  Indonesia[j]
  Sudan none 16 58
 
1962
  Cyprus[k]   Ecuador[l]   Dutch Guiana[f][J]
  Honduras
  Ethiopia
  Ghana
  Morocco
  Nigeria
  Tunisia
9 67   Netherlands Antilles[I]
 
1966
  Albania   Venezuela[k]   Jamaica
  Trinidad and Tobago
  North Korea   Australia 6 73
 
1970
  Bermuda
  El Salvador[f]
  Algeria[m]
  Cameroon[m]
  Libya[m]
  Rhodesia[K]
  Senegal[m]
  Zambia
  New Zealand 9 82
 
1974
  Malta none   Antigua and Barbuda
  Puerto Rico
  Hong Kong
  Iran
  Iraq
  Kuwait
  Malaysia
  South Vietnam[L]
  Thailand
  Congo
  Dahomey[M]
  Guinea[m]
  Ivory Coast
  Kenya
  Lesotho
  Mauritius
  Sierra Leone
  Tanzania
  Togo
  Zaire[N]
none 21 103
 
1978
  Barbados
  Dominican Republic
  Guyana
  Panama
  Bahrain
  Qatar
  Republic of China[n][O]
  Saudi Arabia
  Singapore
  Malawi
  Mauritania
  Niger
  Uganda
  Upper Volta[P]
none 14 117   Suriname[J]
 
1982
  Grenada   Macau   Gambia
  Liberia[m]
  Madagascar[o]
  Mozambique
  Somalia
  Fiji 8 125   Chinese Taipei[O]
  Zimbabwe[K]
 
1986
  Bangladesh
  Brunei
  Jordan
  India[p]
    Nepal
  North Yemen[Q]
  South Yemen
  United Arab Emirates[q]
  Angola 9 134   Benin[M]
 
1990
  Oman[r]
  Pakistan
  Gabon[s] 3 137   Burkina Faso[P]
 
1994
  Faroe Islands
  San Marino
  Nicaragua
  Saint Lucia
  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  Lebanon[t]
  Sri Lanka[u]
  Botswana
  Burundi
  Namibia
  South Africa
  Swaziland[R]
  Solomon Islands
  Tahiti
  Vanuatu
15 152   Germany[B]
  Representation of Czechs and Slovaks[A]
  Russia[H]
  Vietnam[L]
  Yemen[Q]
 
1998
  Armenia
  Azerbaijan
  Belarus
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Croatia
  Georgia
  Liechtenstein[v]
  Macedonia[S]
  Moldova
  Slovenia
  Ukraine
  Aruba
  Belize
  Cayman Islands
  Dominica
  Saint Kitts and Nevis
  Cambodia
  Kazakhstan
  Kyrgyzstan
  Maldives[w]
  Philippines[x]
  Tajikistan
  Turkmenistan
  Uzbekistan
  Guinea-Bissau
  Rwanda[w]
  Cook Islands
  Papua New Guinea
  Tonga
  Western Samoa[v][T]
30 182   Czech Republic[A]
  Slovakia[A]
  DR Congo[N]
  FR Yugoslavia[D]
  
2002
  Andorra   Anguilla
  Bahamas[y]
  British Virgin Islands
  Montserrat
  Turks and Caicos Islands
  U.S. Virgin Islands
  Guam
  Laos
  Mongolia
  Palestine
  Cape Verde
  Central African Republic[z]
  Chad[aa]
  Djibouti
  Equatorial Guinea
  Eritrea
  Mali[ab]
  São Tomé and Príncipe[v]
  Seychelles
  American Samoa 21 203   Samoa[T]
 
2006
  Afghanistan   New Caledonia 2 205   Serbia and Montenegro[D]
 
2010
  Montenegro   Myanmar[ac]
  East Timor
  Comoros   Tuvalu[N 2] 5 210   Serbia[D]
 
2014
none none none none none none 0 210   Curaçao[I]
 
2018
  Gibraltar
  Kosovo
none none   Bhutan[ad]   South Sudan none 4 214
 
2022
0 214   Eswatini[R]
  North Macedonia[S]
   
2026
0 214
   
2030
0 214
 
2034
0 214
Teams' entries before their actual debuts in qualification
  1. ^ a b c d e f Participated in the 1930 World Cup by invitation.
  2. ^ Withdrew from the 1934 qualification before playing.
  3. ^ Participated in the 1930 World Cup by invitation. Qualified by walkover for the 1934 and 1938 finals. Qualified automatically for the 1950 World Cup as host.
  4. ^ Participated in the 1930 World Cup by invitation. Withdrew from the 1934 qualification before playing. Qualified by walkover for the 1950 finals.
  5. ^ a b Participated in the 1930 World Cup by invitation. Qualified by walkover for the 1950 finals.
  6. ^ a b c d e Withdrew from the 1938 qualification before playing.
  7. ^ Participated in the 1930 World Cup by invitation. Qualified by walkover for the 1934 finals. Withdrew from the 1938 and 1950 qualifications before playing.
  8. ^ Participated in the 1930 World Cup by invitation. Withdrew from the 1934, 1950, and 1954 qualifications before playing.
  9. ^ Participated in the 1930 World Cup as host. Qualified by walkover for the 1950 finals. Qualified automatically for the 1954 finals as defending champion.
  10. ^ Qualified by walkover for the 1938 finals (entered as the   Dutch East Indies). Withdrew from the 1950 qualification before playing.
  11. ^ a b Withdrew from the 1958 qualification before playing.
  12. ^ Withdrew from the 1950 qualification before playing.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Withdrew from the 1966 qualification before playing.
  14. ^ Withdrew from the 1954 and 1958 qualifications before playing.
  15. ^ Withdrew from the 1974 qualification before playing (entered as the   Malagasy Republic).
  16. ^ Qualified by walkover for the 1950 finals, and subsequently withdrew from participation. Withdrew from the 1974 qualification before playing.
  17. ^ Withdrew from the 1978 qualification before playing.
  18. ^ Withdrew from the 1986 qualification before playing.
  19. ^ Withdrew from the 1966 and 1974 qualifications before playing.
  20. ^ Withdrew during the 1986 qualification and had all its matches of that campaign annulled.
  21. ^ Withdrew from the 1974 and 1978 qualifications before playing (entered in 1974 as   Ceylon).
  22. ^ a b c Withdrew from the 1994 qualification before playing.
  23. ^ a b Withdrew from the 1990 qualification before playing.
  24. ^ Withdrew from the 1950 and 1974 qualifications before playing.
  25. ^ Withdrew from the 1998 qualification before playing.
  26. ^ Withdrew from the 1978 qualification before playing. Was disqualified from the 1982 qualification before playing.
  27. ^ Withdrew from the 1982 qualification before playing.
  28. ^ Withdrew from the 1966, 1994 and 1998 qualifications before playing.
  29. ^ Withdrew from the 1950, 1994, and 2002 qualifications before playing (entered in 1950 as   Burma).
  30. ^ Withdrew from the 2010 qualification before playing.
Successor and renamed teams
  1. ^ a b c d The Czechoslovakia team was officially renamed as the Representation of Czechs and Slovaks during the 1994 qualification and was then succeeded by the Czech Republic and Slovakia from the 1998 qualification.
  2. ^ a b c Germany was succeeded from the 1954 qualification by West Germany, which in turn was succeeded by the reunified Germany from the 1994 qualification.
  3. ^ a b c The Irish Free State was succeeded in the 1950 qualification by Ireland, which became officially known as the Republic of Ireland from the 1954 qualification.
  4. ^ a b c d Yugoslavia was succeeded from the 1998 qualification by FR Yugoslavia, which was renamed as Serbia and Montenegro for the 2006 qualification and was then succeeded by Serbia from the 2010 qualification.
  5. ^ a b Mandatory Palestine was succeeded by Israel from the 1950 qualification.
  6. ^ Egypt was later succeeded by the   United Arab Republic, a political union with Syria, which entered the 1962 qualification, but withdrew before playing. Then Egypt continued independently but retained the name "United Arab Republic", under which it entered the 1966 qualification and also withdrew before playing. It was renamed back as "Egypt" from the 1974 qualification.
  7. ^ a b Ireland was succeeded by Northern Ireland from the 1954 qualification.
  8. ^ a b The Soviet Union was succeeded by Russia from the 1994 qualification.
  9. ^ a b c The Territory of Curaçao was succeeded from the 1962 qualification by the Netherlands Antilles, which in turn was succeeded by Curaçao from the 2014 qualification.
  10. ^ a b Dutch Guiana was succeeded by Suriname from the 1978 qualification.
  11. ^ a b Rhodesia was succeeded by Zimbabwe from the 1982 qualification.
  12. ^ a b South Vietnam was succeeded by Vietnam from the 1994 qualification.
  13. ^ a b Dahomey was renamed as Benin from the 1986 qualification.
  14. ^ a b Zaire was renamed as DR Congo during the 1998 qualification.
  15. ^ a b The Republic of China became officially known as Chinese Taipei from the 1982 qualification.
  16. ^ a b Upper Volta was renamed as Burkina Faso from the 1990 qualification.
  17. ^ a b North Yemen was succeeded by Yemen from the 1994 qualification.
  18. ^ a b Swaziland was renamed as Eswatini from the 2022 qualification.
  19. ^ a b Macedonia was renamed as North Macedonia from the 2022 qualification.
  20. ^ a b Western Samoa was renamed as Samoa from the 2002 qualification.
Other notes
  1. ^ Italy had to qualify for the 1934 tournament despite being the host.
  2. ^ Tuvalu, a non-FIFA member, formally could not enter the 2010 World Cup, but the team participated in the 2007 South Pacific Games which doubled as a stage of the qualification for that World Cup, and the team's results did count in determining advancement from that stage.

Overview of teams' participations edit

The below table shows how every team has participated in each World Cup qualification.

Key

  • golden background = successful qualifying campaign
  • grey background = did not take part in qualifying
  • bold red typeface = participated in the final tournament
Q Qualified
w Qualified, then withdrew from the finals (Austria in 1938, and Scotland and Turkey in 1950)
n Did not qualify
w Withdrew during qualifying
d Was disqualified during qualifying
H Qualified automatically as host but took part in qualifiers as they doubled as another tournament (South Africa in 2010 and Qatar in 2022)
\ Was not a FIFA member but took part in qualifiers as they doubled as another tournament (Tuvalu in 2010)
b Received bye to the finals
B Received bye to the finals, then withdrew (India in 1950)
H Qualified automatically as host
C Qualified automatically as reigning champion
i Was invited to the finals (all finalists in 1930 except Uruguay)
w Entered but withdrew before playing, or withdrew during qualifying and had all matches annulled
d Entered but was disqualified before playing, or was disqualified during qualifying and had all matches annulled
s Was suspended from entering, or had entry rejected
Did not enter despite being a FIFA member
Was not a FIFA member
Team 19
30
19
34
19
38
19
50
19
54
19
58
19
62
19
66
19
70
19
74
19
78
19
82
19
86
19
90
19
94
19
98
20
02
20
06
20
10
20
14
20
18
20
22
20
26
20
30
20
34
Current
confederation[I]
  Afghanistan n n n n n AFC
  Albania n s n n n n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Algeria w n n n Q Q n n n n n Q Q n n CAF
  American Samoa n n n n n w OFC
  Andorra n n n n n n UEFA
  Angola n n n n n Q n n n n CAF
  Anguilla n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Antigua and Barbuda n n n n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Argentina i b w w Q Q Q n Q H C Q C Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q H CONMEBOL
  Armenia n n n n n n n UEFA
  Aruba n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Australia n n Q n n n n n n n Q Q Q Q Q AFC[II]
  Austria Q w w Q Q n n n Q Q n Q n Q n n n n n n UEFA
  Azerbaijan n n n n n n n UEFA
  Bahamas w n n n w n n CONCACAF
  Bahrain n n n w n n n n n n n n AFC
  Bangladesh n n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Barbados n w n n n n n n d n CONCACAF
  Belarus n n n n n n n UEFA
  Belgium i Q Q w Q n n n Q n n Q Q Q Q Q Q n n Q Q Q UEFA
  Belize s n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Benin (1978–)
  Dahomey (1970–1974)
n n n n n n n n n CAF
  Bermuda n n w n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Bhutan w n n n AFC
  Bolivia i b s n n n n n n n n n Q n n n n n n n CONMEBOL
  Bosnia and Herzegovina n n n n Q n n UEFA
  Botswana n n n n n n n CAF
  Brazil i b b H Q Q C C Q C Q Q Q Q Q C Q Q Q H Q Q CONMEBOL
  British Virgin Islands n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Brunei n n s n n n AFC
  Bulgaria w n n n Q Q Q Q n n Q n Q Q n n n n n n UEFA
  Burkina Faso (1986–)
  Upper Volta (1970–1982)
n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Burundi n w w n n n n n CAF
  Cambodia[i] n n n n n n n AFC
  Cameroon w n n n Q n Q Q Q Q n Q Q n Q CAF
  Canada n w n n n n Q n n n n n n n n Q H CONCACAF
  Cape Verde n n n n n n CAF
  Cayman Islands n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Central African Republic w d n w w n n n CAF
  Chad w n n n n n n CAF
  Chile i w b n n H Q n Q n Q n n s Q n n Q Q n n CONMEBOL
  China n n n n n n Q n n n n n AFC
  Chinese Taipei (1982–)
  Republic of China (1954–1978)
w w n n n n n n n n n n n n AFC[III]
  Colombia w n Q n n n n n n Q Q Q n n n Q Q n CONMEBOL[IV]
  Comoros n n n n CAF
  Congo s n n n n n n n n n n CAF
  Cook Islands n n n n n n w OFC
  Costa Rica w s n n n n n n n n Q n n Q Q n Q Q Q CONCACAF
  Croatia Q Q Q n Q Q Q UEFA
  Cuba n b n s n s n n n w n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Curaçao (2014–)
  Netherlands Antilles (1962–2010)
  Territory of Curaçao (1934–1958)
n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Cyprus w n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n UEFA[V]
  Czech Republic (1998–)
  Representation of Czechs and Slovaks (1994)
  Czechoslovakia (1930–1994)
Q Q Q Q Q n Q n n Q n Q n n n Q n n n n UEFA
  Denmark n n n n n n Q n n Q Q n Q n Q Q UEFA
  Djibouti n n n n n CAF
  Dominica n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Dominican Republic n n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  DR Congo (1998–)
  Zaire (1974–1998)[ii]
s Q w n n n n n n n n n n CAF
  East Germany n n n n Q n n n n defunct[VI]
  Ecuador w n n n n n n n n n n Q Q n Q n Q CONMEBOL
  Egypt[iii] Q w n w w w n n n n Q n n n n n n Q n CAF[VII]
  El Salvador w Q n n Q n n n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  England Q Q Q Q H C n n Q Q Q n Q Q Q Q Q Q Q UEFA
  Equatorial Guinea n n n n n n CAF
  Eritrea n n w n n n w CAF
  Estonia n n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Eswatini (2022–)
  Swaziland (1982–2018)
n n n n n n n n CAF
  Ethiopia s n w n n n n n n n n d n n n CAF[VIII]
  Faroe Islands n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Fiji n n n n n n n n n n OFC
  Finland n w n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  France i Q H n Q Q n Q n n Q Q Q n n H C Q Q Q Q Q UEFA
  Gabon w w n n n n n n n n n CAF
  Gambia n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Georgia n n n n n n n UEFA
  Germany (1994–)
  West Germany (1950–1990)
  Germany (1930–1938)
Q Q s Q C Q Q Q H C Q Q Q C Q Q H Q Q Q Q UEFA
  Ghana n w n n n w n n n n n Q Q Q n Q CAF
  Gibraltar n n UEFA
  Greece w n n n n n n n n n n n Q n n n Q Q n n UEFA
  Grenada n w n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Guam n w w n n n AFC
  Guatemala n n s n n n n n n n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Guinea w s n n n n n n n d n n n n n CAF
  Guinea-Bissau n n n n n n n CAF
  Guyana n n n n n n d n n n n n CONCACAF
  Haiti n n n Q n n n n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Honduras n n n n w Q n n n n n n Q Q n n CONCACAF
  Hong Kong n n n n n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Hungary Q Q b Q Q Q n n Q Q Q n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Iceland s n n n n n n n n n n n n Q n UEFA
  India B s w n w n n n n n n n n AFC
  Indonesia[iv] b w w w n n n n n n n n n n n d n AFC
  Iran n Q w d n n Q n Q n Q Q Q AFC
  Iraq n w n Q n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Israel (1950–)
  Palestine, British Mandate (1930–1938)
n n n n n n n Q n n n n n n n n n n n n n UEFA[IX]
  Italy Q C C Q n Q Q Q Q Q Q C H Q Q Q Q Q Q n n UEFA
  Ivory Coast n n n n n n n Q Q Q n n CAF
  Jamaica n n w n d n n Q n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Japan w s n n n n n n n n n Q H Q Q Q Q Q AFC
  Jordan n n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Kazakhstan n n n n n n n UEFA[X]
  Kenya n n n n n n n n n n n n n CAF
  Kosovo n n UEFA
  Kuwait n n Q n n n n n n n n d n AFC
  Kyrgyzstan n n n n n n n AFC
  Laos n n n n n n AFC
  Latvia n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Lebanon w n n n n n n n n AFC
  Lesotho n n w w n n n n n n CAF
  Liberia w n n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Libya w n n w n w d n n n n n n CAF
  Liechtenstein w n n n n n n n UEFA
  Lithuania n n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Luxembourg n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Macau n n n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Madagascar[v] w n n n n n n n n n n CAF
  Malawi n n n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Malaysia[vi] n n n n n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Maldives w n n n n n n n n AFC
  Mali w w w n n n n n n CAF
  Malta n n n n n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Mauritania n w n n n n n n CAF
  Mauritius n n s n n n n w n n CAF
  Mexico i n w Q Q Q Q Q H n Q n H d Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q H CONCACAF
  Moldova n n n n n n n UEFA
  Mongolia n n n n n n n AFC
  Montenegro n n n n UEFA
  Montserrat n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Morocco n w Q w n n Q n Q Q n n n n Q Q H CAF
  Mozambique n s n n n n n n n n CAF
  Myanmar[vii] w w w s n n n n AFC
  Namibia n n n n n n n n CAF
    Nepal n n n n w n n n n AFC
  Netherlands Q Q n n n n Q Q n n Q Q Q n Q Q Q n Q UEFA
  New Caledonia n n n n n OFC
  New Zealand n n n Q n n n n n n Q n n n OFC
  Nicaragua n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Niger n n w n w n n n n n CAF
  Nigeria n w n n n n n n Q Q Q n Q Q Q n CAF
  North Korea Q d n w n n n n n Q n n w AFC
  North Macedonia (2022–)
  Macedonia (1998–2018)
n n n n n n n UEFA
  Northern Ireland (1954–)
  Ireland (1950)
n n Q n n n n n Q Q n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Norway Q n n n n n n n n n n Q Q n n n n n n UEFA
  Oman w n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Pakistan n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Palestine n n n n n n AFC
  Panama n n n n n n n n n n Q n CONCACAF
  Papua New Guinea n n n n n OFC
  Paraguay i b n Q n n n n n n Q n n Q Q Q Q n n n H CONMEBOL
  Peru i w w w n n n Q n Q Q n n n n n n n n Q n CONMEBOL
  Philippines w s w n n n n n AFC
  Poland n Q w n n n n Q Q Q Q n n n Q Q n n Q Q UEFA
  Portugal n n n n n n Q n n n n Q n n n Q Q Q Q Q Q H UEFA
  Puerto Rico n n n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Qatar n n n n n n n n n n n H AFC
  Republic of Ireland (1954–)
  Ireland (1950)
  Irish Free State (1930–1938)
n n n n n n n n n n n n Q Q n Q n n n n n UEFA
  Romania i Q b n n w n Q n n n n Q Q Q n n n n n n UEFA
  Russia (1994–)
  Soviet Union (1950–1990)
Q Q Q Q d n Q Q Q Q n Q n n Q H d UEFA
  Rwanda w n n n n n n n CAF
  Saar n defunct[VI]
  Saint Kitts and Nevis n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Saint Lucia n n n n n n n w CONCACAF
  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Samoa (2002–)
  Western Samoa (1990–1998)
w n n n n n n w OFC
  San Marino n n n n n n n n UEFA
  São Tomé and Príncipe w n n w n n n CAF
  Saudi Arabia n n n n Q Q Q Q n n Q Q H AFC
  Scotland w Q Q n n n Q Q Q Q Q n Q n n n n n n UEFA
  Senegal w n n n n n n n Q n n n Q Q CAF
  Serbia (2010–)
  Serbia and Montenegro (2006)
  FR Yugoslavia (1994–2002)
  Yugoslavia (1930–1990)
i n n Q Q Q Q n n Q n Q n Q d Q n Q Q n Q Q UEFA
  Seychelles n n n n n n CAF
  Sierra Leone n n n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Singapore n n n n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Slovakia (1998–)
  Representation of Czechs and Slovaks (1994)
  Czechoslovakia (1930–1994)
Q Q Q Q Q n Q n n Q n Q n n n n Q n n n UEFA
  Slovenia n Q n Q n n n UEFA
  Solomon Islands n n n n n n n n OFC
  Somalia n n n n n n n CAF
  South Africa s d s s s n Q Q n H n n n CAF
  South Korea Q s n w n n n n Q Q Q Q H Q Q Q Q Q AFC
  South Sudan n n CAF
  South Yemen n w defunct[XI]
  Spain Q s Q n n Q Q n n Q H Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q H UEFA
  Sri Lanka[viii] w w n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Sudan w w w n n w n n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Suriname (1978–)
  Dutch Guiana (1930–1974)
w n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Sweden Q Q Q n H n n Q Q Q n n Q Q n Q Q n n Q n UEFA
   Switzerland Q Q Q H n Q Q n n n n n n Q n n Q Q Q Q Q UEFA
  Syria w n w n n n n n n n n n n d n n AFC[XII]
  Tahiti n n n n n n n n OFC
  Tajikistan n n n n n n n AFC
  Tanzania n w n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Thailand n n n n n n n n n n n n n AFC
  East Timor n n n n n AFC
  Togo n n n w w n n n Q n n n n CAF
  Tonga n n n n n n w OFC
  Trinidad and Tobago n n n n n n n n n n Q n n n n CONCACAF
  Tunisia n w n n Q n n n n Q Q Q n n Q Q CAF
  Turkey w w Q w n n n n n n n n n n Q n n n n n UEFA[XIII]
  Turkmenistan n n n n n n n AFC
  Turks and Caicos Islands n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Tuvalu \ OFC
  Uganda n w n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Ukraine n n Q n n n n UEFA
  United Arab Emirates w n Q n n n n n n n n AFC
  United States i Q w Q n n n n n n n n n Q H Q Q Q Q Q n Q H CONCACAF
  U.S. Virgin Islands n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Uruguay H b C n Q Q Q Q n n Q Q n n Q n Q Q Q Q H CONMEBOL
  Uzbekistan n n n n n n n AFC
  Vanuatu n n n n n n n w OFC
  Venezuela w n n w n n n n n n n n n n n n CONMEBOL
  Vietnam (1978–)
  South Vietnam (1954–1974)
s n w n n n n n n n n AFC
  Wales n n Q n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n Q UEFA
  Yemen (1994–)
  North Yemen (1982–1990)
n n n n n n n n n n AFC
  Zambia n n n n n n n n n n n n n n CAF
  Zimbabwe (1982–)
  Rhodesia (1970–1978)
n n n n n n n n n n d n CAF[XIV]
Team 19
30
19
34
19
38
19
50
19
54
19
58
19
62
19
66
19
70
19
74
19
78
19
82
19
86
19
90
19
94
19
98
20
02
20
06
20
10
20
14
20
18
20
22
20
26
20
30
20
34
Current
confederation
Non-participating incarnations
  1. ^ Known as the   Khmer Republic in 1974, and then as   Kampuchea until 1990.
  2. ^ Known as   Congo-Kinshasa until 1970.
  3. ^ Entered in 1962 as the   United Arab Republic representing a political union with Syria. After that continued independently but retained the name "United Arab Republic" until 1970.
  4. ^ Entered as the   Dutch East Indies in 1938.
  5. ^ Known as the   Malagasy Republic until 1974.
  6. ^ Preceded by   Malaya until 1962.
  7. ^ Known as   Burma until 1990.
  8. ^ Known as   Ceylon until 1974.
Continental allocations
  1. ^ Africa and Asia had a joint zone in 1934 and 1958. Africa, Asia and Oceania had a joint zone in 1966. Asia and Oceania had a joint zone in 1970–1982.
  2. ^ Entered the Oceanian zone in 1986–2006.
  3. ^ Entered the Oceanian zone in 1986–1990.
  4. ^ Entered the North and Central American zone in 1938.
  5. ^ Entered the African/Asian zone in 1958.
  6. ^ a b Participated in the European zone.
  7. ^ Entered the European zone in 1938 and 1954.
  8. ^ Entered the European zone in 1962.
  9. ^ Entered the African/Asian zone in 1934 and 1958, the Asian/Oceanian zone in 1970–1978, and the Oceanian zone in 1986–1990.
  10. ^ Entered the Asian zone in 1998–2002.
  11. ^ Participated in the Asian zone.
  12. ^ Entered the European zone in 1950 and 1966.
  13. ^ Entered the African/Asian zone in 1934 and 1958.
  14. ^ Entered the Asian/Oceanian zone in 1970.

Overall team records edit

The below table compares the overall records of all teams that have participated in qualification. Teams are ordered by points using the three points for a win system, then by goal difference, and then by goals scored. Note that this order does not represent any official rankings, and qualification tournaments are not direct competitions among all teams.

The "Qualifying attempts" column counts qualifying campaigns where the team played at least one match that was not annulled. An attempt is treated as "successful" if the team gained the right to participate in the finals, even if it did not appear there eventually.

As per statistical convention in football, goals scored during extra time are counted towards matches' scorelines and outcomes, while goals scored during penalty shoot-outs are not. Annulled matches are not counted; for matches that were annulled and then replayed, only the replays are counted. For matches where the scorelines were awarded, the awarded scorelines, and not the original ones (if any), are counted.

Ecuador was deducted 3 points in the 2026 qualifying, which is reflected in the table.

Key
Team has qualified for the main tournament through a qualifying process
Team has qualified for the main tournament only by walkover (Cuba, and Indonesia as Dutch East Indies)
Team has qualified for the main tournament by walkover but has not participated there because it withdrew (India)
Team has qualified for the main tournament only automatically as host (Qatar)
Team has not qualified for the main tournament
Defunct team that qualified for the main tournament (East Germany)
Defunct team that never qualified for the main tournament (Saar and South Yemen)
Team is not a member of FIFA and is not eligible for the main tournament (Tuvalu)

Teams in bold are currently participating or are yet to start in the 2026 qualification. The table is updated to the matches played in November 2023.

No. Team Qualifying attempts Appearances
in the finals
Overall qualification record Points Confederation
Total Successful Pld W D L GF GA GD Total Avg
1   Mexico 17 14 18 189 121 41 27 453 134 +319 404 2.138 CONCACAF
2   Australia 16 6 6 163 97 40 26 415 125 +290 331 2.031 AFC
3   South Korea 16 10 11 153 96 39 18 307 90 +217 327 2.137 AFC
4   Costa Rica 17 6 6 187 93 47 47 309 184 +125 326 1.743 CONCACAF
5   Iran 12 6 6 148 93 36 19 322 91 +231 315 2.128 AFC
6   Argentina 15 13 18 159 91 42 26 270 137 +133 315 1.981 CONMEBOL
7   Netherlands 19 11 11 135 89 26 20 329 101 +228 293 2.170 UEFA
8   United States 19 9 12 168 84 40 44 287 191 +96 292 1.738 CONCACAF
9   Uruguay 18 11 14 178 81 47 50 253 191 +62 290 1.629 CONMEBOL
10   Spain 19 15 16 125 87 26 12 291 81 +210 287 2.296 UEFA
11   Brazil 14 13 22 133 84 34 15 288 82 +206 286 2.150 CONMEBOL
12   Portugal 21 8 8 149 83 35 31 284 146 +138 284 1.906 UEFA
13   Japan 16 6 7 140 85 27 28 315 91 +224 282 2.014 AFC
14   Saudi Arabia 13 6 6 138 83 32 23 272 103 +169 281 2.036 AFC
15   England 17 14 16 122 84 27 11 314 70 +244 279 2.287 UEFA
16   Sweden 20 11 12 141 86 21 34 280 129 +151 279 1.979 UEFA
17   Serbia
  Serbia and Montenegro
  FR Yugoslavia
  Yugoslavia
20 12 13 136 81 33 22 287 123 +164 276 2.029 UEFA
18