FIFA World Cup qualification

The FIFA World Cup qualification is the process that a national association football team goes through to qualify for the final tournament of the FIFA World Cup. The qualification reduces the large field of eligible entrants from 211 to just 32 for the finals as of the 2022 edition (to be expanded to 48 from 2026 onwards).

Qualifying tournaments are held within FIFA's six continental zones and are 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 beforehand the number of places in the finals allocated to each of the zones, based on the numbers and relative strengths of the confederations' teams.

The hosts receive automatic berths, and until 2002, so did the defending champions. Unlike with other sports, results of the previous World Cups or of the continental championships are not taken into account.

The current qualification process is the 2022 qualification, which commenced in 2019 and finishes in 2022.

HistoryEdit

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 the current three-year process. The first World Cup qualifying match was played on 11 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 places, with one or two places awarded to the winners of intercontinental play-offs.

Qualification spots by continentEdit

The table below lists the numbers of spots 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.

"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, with a place in a direct play-off being counted as 0.5 spots and a place in a semi-final play-off (where the winner would then face yet another team for a place in the finals) being counted as 0.25 spots.

Places allocated for continents
 
1930
[a]
 
1934
 
1938
 
1950
 
1954
 
1958
 
1962
 
1966
 
1970
 
1974
 
1978
 
1982
 
1986
 
1990
 
1994
 
1998
 
 
2002
 
2006
 
2010
 
2014
 
2018
 
2022
 
 
 
2026
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
14
+H
13.5
+C
13
+H
13 13 13
+H
13 16
Africa 1 0[c] 1[b] 0.5 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 5 5 5 5
+H
5 5 5 9
Asia 1 1 1 0.5 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3.5 2.5
+2H
4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5
+H
8
Oceania N/A[d] 0[c] 0[c] 0[c] 0[c] 0.5 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1
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
3 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 6
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 4
+C
4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5
+H
4.5 4.5 6
Play-off tournament N/A 2
Total spots 13 16 16 16 16 24 32 48
Teams in the finals 15[e] 13[f]
Entered qualification[g] N/A 32 34 32 37 51 54 69 69 97 105 107 119 111 145 172 196 197 205[h] 203 210 211[i]
Played in qualification[j] 27 21 19 33 46 49 51 68 90 95 103 110 103 128 168 193 194 199[h] 202 208 207[i]
Qualified via qualification 14 10 9 13 14 14 14 14 14 14 22 22 22 22 30 29 31 31 31 31 31
Qualified without playing 13 2 6 7 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 1 1 1 1 1
Notes
  1. ^ Spots were given by invitation only.
  2. ^ a b Actually the spots 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 Wales.
  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. ^ 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 Including host South Africa and non-FIFA member Tuvalu, who participated because other tournaments also served as World Cup qualifiers.
  9. ^ a b Including host Qatar, who participated because the continental qualification also served as World Cup qualifiers.
  10. ^ Only includes teams that played at least one qualifying match that was not annulled.

First appearance in qualification by teamEdit

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 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]
none   Cuba
  Haiti
  Mexico[a]
  United States[a]
  Palestine, British Mandate[E]   Egypt[F] none 27 27
 
1938
  Finland
  Latvia
  Norway
none none none none none 3 30
 
1950
  England
  Ireland[G]
  Scotland
  Turkey[b]
  Wales
none none   Syria none none 6 36   Ireland[C]
  Israel[E]
 
1954
  Saar   Brazil[c]
  Chile[d]
  Paraguay[e]
none   Japan[f]
  South Korea
none none 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 PR
  Indonesia[j]
  Sudan none 16 58
 
1962
  Cyprus[k]   Ecuador[l]   Dutch Guiana[f][J]
  Honduras
none   Ethiopia
  Ghana
  Morocco
  Nigeria
  Tunisia
none 9 67   Netherlands Antilles[I]
 
1966
  Albania   Venezuela[k]   Jamaica
  Trinidad and Tobago
  North Korea none   Australia 6 73
 
1970
none none   Bermuda
  El Salvador[f]
none   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
none none   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
none none   Grenada   Macau   Gambia
  Liberia[m]
  Madagascar[o]
  Mozambique
  Somalia
  Fiji 8 125   Chinese Taipei[O]
  Zimbabwe[K]
 
1986
none none none   Bangladesh
  Brunei
  Jordan
  India[p]
    Nepal
  North Yemen[Q]
  South Yemen
  United Arab Emirates[q]
  Angola none 9 134   Benin[M]
 
1990
none none none   Oman[r]
  Pakistan
  Gabon[s] none 3 137   Burkina Faso[P]
 
1994
  Faroe Islands
  San Marino
none   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
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  Ukraine
none   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]
31 183   Czech Republic[A]
  DR Congo[N]
  FR Yugoslavia[D]
  
2002
  Andorra none   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
  Djibouti
  Equatorial Guinea
  Eritrea
  Mali[aa]
  São Tomé and Príncipe[v]
  Seychelles
  American Samoa 21 204   Samoa[T]
 
2006
none none none   Afghanistan none   New Caledonia 2 206   Serbia and Montenegro[D]
 
2010
  Montenegro none none   Myanmar[ab]
  Timor-Leste
  Comoros   Tuvalu[N 2] 5 211   Serbia[D]
 
2014
none none none none none none 0 211   Curaçao[I]
 
2018
  Gibraltar
  Kosovo
none none   Bhutan[ac]   South Sudan none 4 215
 
2022
none none none none none none 0 215   Eswatini[R]
  North Macedonia[S]
Teams' entries prior to 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 1966, 1994 and 1998 qualifications before playing.
  28. ^ Withdrew from the 1950, 1994 and 2002 qualifications before playing (entered in 1950 as   Burma).
  29. ^ Withdrew from the 2010 qualification before playing.
Successor and renamed teams
  1. ^ a b c 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 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' participationsEdit

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 continental qualifiers (South Africa in 2010 and Qatar in 2022)
\ Was not a FIFA member but took part in qualifiers as they doubled as regional 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
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 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 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 AFC[II]
  Austria Q w w Q Q n n n Q Q n Q n Q 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 AFC
  Bolivia i b s n n n n n n n n n Q 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 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 AFC
  Cameroon w n n n Q n Q Q Q Q n Q Q n CAF
  Canada n w n n n n Q n n n n n n n n 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 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 CONMEBOL
  China PR n n n n n n Q 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 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 OFC
  Costa Rica w s n n n n n n n n Q n n Q Q n 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 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 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 CONMEBOL
  Egypt[iii] Q w n w w w n n n n Q n n n n n n Q CAF[VII]
  El Salvador w Q n n Q 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 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 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 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 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 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 n 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 AFC
  Iraq n w n Q 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 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 CONCACAF
  Japan w s n n n n n n n n n Q H 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 AFC
  Latvia n n n n n n n n n UEFA
  Lebanon w 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 w 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 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 AFC
  Mali w w w 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 CONCACAF
  Moldova n n n n n n n UEFA
  Mongolia 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 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 OFC
  New Zealand n n n Q n n n n n n Q 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 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 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 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 CONCACAF
  Papua New Guinea 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 CONMEBOL
  Peru i w w w n n n Q n Q Q n n n n n n n n Q 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 UEFA
  Portugal n n n n n n Q n n n n Q n n n Q Q Q Q Q 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 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 AFC
  Scotland w Q Q n n n Q Q Q Q Q n Q n n n n n UEFA
  Senegal w n n n n n n n Q n n n Q CAF
  Serbia (2010–)
  Serbia and Montenegro (2006)
  FR Yugoslavia (1994–2002)
  SFR Yugoslavia (1950–1990)
  Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1930–1938)
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 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 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 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 UEFA
  Sri Lanka[viii] w w n n n n n n n n AFC
  Sudan n 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 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 AFC[XII]
  Tahiti 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
  Timor-Leste 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 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 CAF
  Turkey w w Q w n n n n n n n n n n Q 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
  U.S. Virgin Islands n n n n n n CONCACAF
  Uganda n w n n w n n n n n n n CAF
  Ukraine n n Q n n n UEFA
  United Arab Emirates w n Q 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 CONCACAF
  Uruguay H b C n Q Q Q Q n n Q Q n n Q n Q Q Q CONMEBOL
  Uzbekistan n n n n n n n AFC
  Vanuatu n n n n n n n OFC
  Venezuela w n n w 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 AFC
  Wales n n Q n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n 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
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 recordsEdit

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.

Key
Team has won the World Cup
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 2022 qualification. The table is updated to the matches played in November 2021.

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 13 16 183 117 39 27 447 133 +314 390 2.131 CONCACAF
2   Australia 15 5 5 155 93 38 24 399 119 +280 317 2.045 AFC
3   South Korea 15 9 10 148 91 40 17 294 89 +205 313 2.115 AFC
4   Costa Rica 17 5 5 180 87 46 47 301 183 +118 307 1.706 CONCACAF
5   Iran 11 5 5 142 89 35 18 312 87 +225 302 2.127 AFC
6   Netherlands 19 11 11 135 89 26 20 329 101 +228 293 2.170 UEFA
7   Argentina 14 13 18 149 83 41 25 255 133 +122 290 1.946 CONMEBOL
8   Spain 19 15 16 125 87 26 12 291 81 +210 287 2.296 UEFA
9   United States 19 8 10 162 81 39 42 278 186 +92 282 1.741 CONCACAF
10   England 17 14 16 122 84 27 11 314 70 +244 279 2.287 UEFA
11   Portugal 21 7 7 147 81 35 31 279 145 +134 278 1.891 UEFA
12   Serbia
  Serbia and Montenegro
  FR Yugoslavia
  SFR Yugoslavia
  Kingdom of Yugoslavia
20 12 13 136 81 33 22 287 123 +164 276 2.029 UEFA
13   Belgium 20 13 14 141 83 27 31 302 147 +155 276 1.957 UEFA
14   Sweden 20 11 12 139 85 21 33 279 127 +152 276 1.986 UEFA
15   Brazil 13 13 22 123 79 32 12 267 74 +193 269 2.187 CONMEBOL
16   Saudi Arabia 12 5 5 132 79 31 22 263 100 +163 268 2.030 AFC
17   Czech Republic
  Representation of Czechs and Slovaks
  Czechoslovakia
20 9 9 146 79 31 36 280 125 +155 268 1.836 UEFA
18   Germany
  West Germany
  Germany
15 15 20 104 83 18 3 328 74 +254 267 2.567 UEFA
19   Japan 15 5 6 134 80 26 28 298 90 +208 266 1.985 AFC
20   Uruguay 17 10 13 168 73 46 49 232 185 +47 265 1.577 CONMEBOL
21   Russia
  Soviet Union
16 10 11 125 80 24 21 246 81 +165 264 2.112 UEFA
22   Italy 17 14 18 117 78 30 9 234 71 +163 264 2.256 UEFA
23   Honduras 15 3 3 158 69 43 46 260 188 +72 250 1.582 CONCACAF
24   Romania 18 5 7 138 72 29 37 238 142 +96 245 1.775 UEFA
25    Switzerland 20 11 12 140 68 37 35 220 150 +70 241 1.721 UEFA
26   Paraguay 18 6 8 168 68 37 63 210 207 +3 241 1.435 CONMEBOL
27   El Salvador 14 2 2 154 69 32 53 256 179 +77 239 1.552 CONCACAF
28   China PR 12 1 1 122 73 19 30 267 88 +179 238 1.951 AFC
29   Scotland 19 9 8 135 69 30 36 209 143 +66 237 1.756 UEFA
30   France 18 12 16 119 70 26 23 234 91 +143 236 1.983 UEFA
31   Colombia 17 6 6 166 60 54 52 196 176 +20 234 1.410 CONMEBOL
32   Denmark 16 6 6 132 67 30 35 242 144 +98 231 1.750 UEFA
33   Chile 16 6 9 160 65 33 62 232 211 +21 228 1.425 CONMEBOL
34   Poland 19 8 8 127 66 23 38 258 154 +104 221 1.740 UEFA
35   Austria 19 8 7 133 64 29 40 231 153 +78 221 1.662 UEFA
36   Republic of Ireland
  Ireland
  Irish Free State
21 3 3 149 58 46 45 210 177 +33 220 1.477 UEFA
37   Hungary 19 8 9 132 63 28 41 235 176 +59 217 1.644 UEFA
38   Nigeria 15 6 6 110 62 30 18 184 83 +101 216 1.964 CAF
39   Bulgaria 20 7 7 137 62 29 46 215 191 +24 215 1.569 UEFA
40   Tunisia 15 5 5 110 61 29 20 191 86 +105 212 1.927 CAF
41   Canada 15 1 1 131 58 38 35 205 142 +63 212 1.618 CONCACAF
42   Morocco 15 5 5 117 57 38 22 170 81 +89 209 1.786 CAF
43   Greece 20 3 3 136 56 33 47 167 179 −12 201 1.478 UEFA
44   Trinidad and Tobago 15 1 1 141 57 29 55 207 184 +23 200 1.418 CONCACAF
45   Ecuador 16 3 3 157 54 35 68 192 215 −23 197 1.255 CONMEBOL
46   Qatar 12 0 1 120 57 23 40 199 122 +77 194 1.617 AFC
47   Cameroon 14 7 7 93 56 22 15 156 69 +87 190 2.043 CAF
48   Iraq 12 1 1 115 53 30 32 218 116 +102 189 1.643 AFC
49   Egypt 15 3 3 99 56 21 22 175 93 +82 189 1.909 CAF
50   Guatemala 16 0 0 126 52 32 42 208 150 +58 188 1.492 CONCACAF
51   Turkey 18 3 2 138 53 27 58 203 203 0 186 1.348 UEFA
52   Peru 17 4 5 163 48 39 76 179 231 −52 183 1.123 CONMEBOL
53   Uzbekistan 7 0 0 102 54 19 29 195 104 +91 181 1.775 AFC
54   Norway 19 3 3 136 49 33 54 185 186 −1 180 1.324 UEFA
55   New Zealand 13 2 2 96 53 18 25 221 99 +122 177 1.844 OFC
56   Northern Ireland
  Ireland
19 3 3 142 45 39 58 155 168 −13 174 1.225 UEFA
57   Kuwait 13 1 1 101 52 16 33 179 99 +80 172 1.703 AFC
58   United Arab Emirates 10 1 1 111 49 23 39 190 123 +67 170 1.532 AFC
59   Israel
  Palestine, British Mandate
21 1 1 132 45 35 52 189 199 −10 170 1.288 UEFA
60   Zambia 14 0 0 102 47 21 34 153 97 +56 162 1.588 CAF
61   Ivory Coast 12 3 3 84 45 26 13 154 70 +84 161 1.917 CAF
62   Bolivia 17 1 3 164 43 32 89 197 312 −115 161 0.982 CONMEBOL
63   Algeria 14 4 4 95 44 25 26 151 95 +56 157 1.653 CAF
64   Ghana 14 3 3 89 44 23 22 139 69 +70 155 1.742 CAF
65   Wales 19 1 1 128 41 29 58 165 179 −14 152 1.187 UEFA
66   Syria 15 0 0 98 43 22 33 201 115 +86 151 1.541 AFC
67   Croatia 7 6 6 72 43 20 9 129 51 +78 149 2.069 UEFA
68   Jamaica 12 1 1 112 38 31 43 121 142 −21 145 1.295 CONCACAF
69   North Korea 11 2 2 88 41 21 26 120 80 +40 144 1.636 AFC
70   Haiti 15 1 1 95 42 17 36 165 124 +41 143 1.505 CONCACAF
71   Ukraine 7 1 1 78 37 28 13 119 60 +59 139 1.782 UEFA
72   DR Congo
  Zaire
11 1 1 82 39 19 24 137 87 +50 136 1.659 CAF
73   Bahrain 11 0 0 96 35 28 33 120 98 +22 133 1.385 AFC
74   Panama 12 1 1 108 36 25 47 136 168 −32 133 1.231 CONCACAF
75   Oman 9 0 0 84 37 20 27 137 83 +54 131 1.560 AFC
76   Finland 20 0 0 137 35 25 77 144 297 −153 130 0.949 UEFA
77   Slovakia 7 1 1 74 35 19 20 127 74 +53 124 1.676 UEFA
78   Guinea 13 0 0 81 35 14 32 119 108 +11 119 1.469 CAF
79   Senegal 13 2 2 69 31 23 15 105 60 +45 116 1.681 CAF
80   Jordan 10 0 0 78 32 16 30 118 95 +23 112 1.436 AFC
81   Iceland 14 1 1 116 30 22 64 128 233 −105 112 0.966 UEFA
82   Venezuela 14 0 0 154 27 26 101 129 339 −210 107 0.695 CONMEBOL
83   South Africa 8 2 3 56 32 9 15 72 47 +25 105 1.875 CAF
84   Angola 10 1 1 69 27 24 18 88 66 +22 105 1.522 CAF
85   Slovenia 7 2 2 72 29 17 26 94 80 +14 104 1.444 UEFA
86   Bosnia and Herzegovina 7 1 1 66 29 14 23 121 81 +40 101 1.530 UEFA
87   Burkina Faso
  Upper Volta
9 0 0 66 29 13 24 99 82 +17 100 1.515 CAF
88   Thailand 13 0 0 97 26 21 50 125 165 −40 99 1.021 AFC
89