1974 FIFA World Cup qualification
|Teams||99 (from 6 confederations)|
|Goals scored||620 (2.74 per match)|
A total of 99 teams entered the 1974 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 16 spots in the final tournament. West Germany, as the hosts, and Brazil, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition.
The 16 spots available in the 1974 World Cup would be distributed among the continental zones as follows:
- Europe (UEFA): 9.5 places, 1 of them went to automatic qualifier West Germany, while the other 8.5 places were contested by 32 teams. The winner of the 0.5 place would advance to the Intercontinental Play-offs (against a team from CONMEBOL).
- South America (CONMEBOL): 3.5 places, 1 of them went to automatic qualifier Brazil, while the other 2.5 places were contested by 9 teams. The winner of the 0.5 place would advance to the Intercontinental Play-offs (against a team from UEFA).
- North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF): 1 place, contested by 14 teams.
- Africa (CAF): 1 place, contested by 24 teams.
- Asia (AFC) and Oceania (OFC): 1 place, contested by 18 teams.
A total of 90 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 226 qualifying matches were played, and 620 goals were scored (an average of 2.74 per match).
To see the dates and results of the qualification rounds for each continental zone, click on the following articles:
- Group 1 - Sweden qualified.
- Group 2 - Italy qualified.
- Group 3 - Netherlands qualified.
- Group 4 - East Germany qualified.
- Group 5 - Poland qualified.
- Group 6 - Bulgaria qualified.
- Group 7 - Yugoslavia qualified.
- Group 8 - Scotland qualified.
- Group 9 - Soviet Union advanced to the UEFA / CONMEBOL Intercontinental Play-off.
- Group 1 - Uruguay qualified.
- Group 2 - Argentina qualified.
- Group 3 - Chile advanced to the UEFA / CONMEBOL Intercontinental Play-off.
- Haiti qualified.
- Zaire qualified.
- Australia qualified.
The teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis. The winner would qualify.
UEFA – CONMEBOL Intercontinental Play-off
|Soviet Union v Chile 26 September 1973||Soviet Union||0 – 0||Chile||Moscow, Soviet Union|
|Referee: Marques (Brazil)
|Chile v Soviet Union 21 November 1973||Chile||w/o||Soviet Union||Santiago, Chile|
The second leg was scratched and Chile qualified automatically after the Soviet Union refused to play the return leg due to the recent Chilean coup d'état and left-wing prisoners being executed in the Santiago stadium. The match did 'go ahead', with eleven Chilean players facing zero Soviet players. The match started before thousands of bemused spectators, with half a dozen Chilean players slowly passing the ball to each other in mock play until the captain walked the ball into the net.
The following 16 teams qualified for the 1974 FIFA World Cup:
|Team||Finals Appearance||Streak||Last Appearance|
|West Germany (h)||8th||6||1970|
(h) - qualified automatically as hosts
(c) - qualified automatically as defending champions
- For the first time in the qualifiers, goal difference was used as a tie-breaker for teams who finished level on points. Aggregate score was also used to determine the winners of two-legged ties.
- Australia was the first team from OFC to qualify for a World Cup.