2006 FIFA World Cup qualification

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A total of 197 teams entered the qualification process for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, competing for a total of 32 spots in the final tournament. Germany, as the host, qualified automatically, leaving 31 spots open for competition. The final distribution was as follows:

  • Europe - represented by UEFA : 51 teams competing for 13 places (Germany qualified automatically as host nation for a total of 14 places)
  • Africa - the CAF : 51 teams, 5 places
  • South America - CONMEBOL : 10 teams, 4.5 places
  • Asia - the AFC : 39 teams, 4.5 places
  • North, Central American and Caribbean - CONCACAF : 34 teams, 3.5 places
  • Oceania - the OFC : 12 teams, 0.5 places

Each .5 indicates a place in inter-confederation matchups for the last two spots, namely playoffs between AFC and CONCACAF and between CONMEBOL and OFC.

A total of 194 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 847 qualifying matches were played, and 2464 goals were scored (an average of 2.91 per match).

Notes on qualification

For the first time ever, the defending champion (Brazil) did not qualify automatically. The hosts (Germany) retained their automatic spot. In 1934, the defending champions (Uruguay) declined to participate and the hosts (Italy) had to qualify, but in the tournaments between 1938 and 2002 (inclusive), the hosts and the defending champions had automatic berths.

The original distribution of places between the six confederations called for Oceania to be given one full spot in the final 32; this idea was seen as virtually guaranteeing a place in the finals to Australia, by far the strongest footballing nation in the region. This decision was reconsidered in June 2003 and the previous distribution of places between Oceania and South America was restored.

The draw for five of the six qualification tournaments took place on December 5, 2003 in Frankfurt, whilst all of the members of the South American federation (CONMEBOL) competed in a single group. Qualification itself began in January 2004.

Qualified teams

Final qualification status
  Country qualified for World Cup
  Country failed to qualify
  Country did not enter World Cup
  Country not a FIFA member
Team Finals Appearance Streak Last Appearance
 Angola 1st 1
 Argentina 14th 9 2002
 Australia 2nd 1 1974
 Brazil 18th 18 2002
 Costa Rica 3rd 2 2002
 Ivory Coast 1st 1
 Croatia 3rd 3 2002
 Czech Republic 1st(1) 1 (1)
 Ecuador 2nd 2 2002
 England 12th 3 2002
 France 12th 3 2002
 Germany (h) 16th(2) 14(2) 2002
 Ghana 1st 1
 Iran 3rd 1 1998
 Italy 16th 12 2002
 Japan 3rd 3 2002
 South Korea 7th 6 2002
 Mexico 13th 4 2002
 Netherlands 8th 1 1998
 Paraguay 7th 3 2002
 Poland 7th 2 2002
 Portugal 4th 2 2002
 Saudi Arabia 4th 4 2002
 Serbia and Montenegro 2nd(4) 1 1998
 Spain 12th 8 2002
 Sweden 11th 2 2002
  Switzerland 8th 1 1994
 Togo 1st 1
 Trinidad and Tobago 1st 1
 Tunisia 4th 3 2002
 Ukraine 1st(3) 1(3)
 United States 8th 5 2002

(h) - qualified automatically as hosts

1Excludes appearances by Czechoslovakia. If those are counted together, this is their 9th appearance, and their previous appearance was in 1990.

2Includes 10 appearances by DFB representing West Germany between 1954 and 1990. Excludes 1 appearance by DVF representing East Germany between 1954 and 1990.

3Excludes appearances by pre-division Soviet Union. If those are counted together, this is their 8th appearance.

4Excludes appearances by pre-division Yugoslavia. If those are counted together, this is their 10th appearance. This is also their first and\ last appearance under this name; at the previous qualifying tournament they had competed as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the two parts of the country finally split in June 2006.

13 of the 32 teams subsequently failed to qualify for the 2010 finals: Saudi Arabia (whose streak of 4 tournaments ended in 2006); Croatia and Tunisia (both 3); Costa Rica, Ecuador, Poland and Sweden (2); Angola, Czech Republic, Iran, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine (1).

Qualification Groups

Europe (UEFA)

(14 berths, including Germany as host)
The ten teams in bold qualified for the Football World Cup 2006.
The three teams in bold italics qualified for the Football World Cup 2006 through a single-pairing home-and-away playoff.
The three teams in italics qualified for the playoff, but did not qualify for the World Cup.

Ukraine qualified for the 2006 World Cup on September 3, 2005.
Croatia, England, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and Portugal qualified on October 8, 2005.
France, Sweden and Serbia and Montenegro qualified on October 12, 2005.
Czech Republic, Spain and Switzerland qualified through the playoffs on November 16, 2005

Group standings:

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
1.  Netherlands 1.  Ukraine 1.  Portugal 1.  France
2.  Czech Republic 2.  Turkey 2.  Slovakia 2.   Switzerland
3.  Romania 3.  Denmark 3.  Russia 3.  Israel
4.  Finland 4.  Greece 4.  Estonia 4.  Republic of Ireland
5.  Macedonia 5.  Albania 5.  Latvia 5.  Cyprus
6.  Armenia 6.  Georgia 6.  Liechtenstein 6.  Faroe Islands
7.  Andorra 7.  Kazakhstan 7.  Luxembourg  
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
1.  Italy 1.  England 1.  Serbia and Montenegro 1.  Croatia
2.  Norway 2.  Poland 2.  Spain 2.  Sweden
3.  Scotland 3.  Austria 3.  Bosnia and Herzegovina 3.  Bulgaria
4.  Slovenia 4.  Northern Ireland 4.  Belgium 4.  Hungary
5.  Belarus 5.  Wales 5.  Lithuania 5.  Iceland
6.  Moldova 6.  Azerbaijan 6.  San Marino 6.  Malta

The draw for the playoffs was made on October 14, 2005.

South American (CONMEBOL)

(4 berths, after losing a playoff against Oceania)

This zone is played as a league system on a home-and-away basis involving all 10 teams in a tournament which began in September 2003. The top 4 teams qualify automatically for the 2006 World Cup Finals; the fifth-placed team played off with Oceania.

In bold: The 4 teams that clinched World Cup berths
Argentina qualified for the 2006 World Cup on June 8, 2005.
Brazil qualified on September 4, 2005.
Paraguay and Ecuador got their ticket on October 8, 2005
In italics: Qualified for a play-off against Australia.
Uruguay had a home-and-away playoff against Oceania winner Australia on 12 and 16 November, having secured 5th place on October 12, 2005. The play-offs ended in a 1-0 victory for each home team, and Australia won the penalty shootout 4-2.

Final standings:

1.  Brazil
2.  Argentina
3.  Ecuador
4.  Paraguay
5.  Uruguay
6.  Colombia
7.  Chile
8.  Venezuela
9.  Peru
10. Bolivia

Africa (CAF)

(5 berths)

Teams that have clinched a spot in the World Cup are in bold.
Togo qualified with a 3-2 win over Congo on 8 October 2005.
Ghana wins their group with the South Africa-Congo DR 2-2 draw on 8 October 2005.
Côte d'Ivoire clinched their berth with the Cameroon-Egypt 1-1 draw, on 8 October 2005.
Angola qualified for the 2006 World Cup with a 1-0 win over Rwanda on 8 October 2005.
Tunisia qualified on 8 October 2005 with a 2-2 tie against Morocco.

Group standings of the Final Round:

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
1.  Togo 1.  Ghana 1.  Ivory Coast 1.  Angola 1.  Tunisia
2.  Senegal 2.  DR Congo 2.  Cameroon 2.  Nigeria 2.  Morocco
3.  Zambia 3.  South Africa 3.  Egypt 3.  Zimbabwe 3.  Guinea
4.  Congo 4.  Burkina Faso 4.  Libya 4.  Gabon 4.  Kenya
5.  Mali 5.  Cape Verde 5.  Sudan 5.  Algeria 5.  Botswana
6.  Liberia 6.  Uganda 6.  Benin 6.  Rwanda 6.  Malawi

Oceania (OFC)

(1 berth after winning a playoff with South America)

The top two teams in Oceania played against each other to earn the right to compete against the fifth-placed team from South America.

Group standings of the Final Round:

1.  Australia
2.  Solomon Islands
3.  New Zealand
4.  Fiji
5.  Tahiti
6.  Vanuatu

Australia then beat Solomon Islands 9-1 on aggregate. (1st leg: 7-0 on September 3, 2005; 2nd leg: 2-1 on September 6, 2005), and won the right to compete in the playoff against the fifth placed South American team. Their opponent was Uruguay, as they qualified in 5th place on October 12, 2005. Australia finally prevailed 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out after both play-off matches had ended 1-0 for the home team.

Asia (AFC)

(4 berths, after losing a playoff to CONCACAF)

Teams that have clinched berths for 2006 are bolded.
Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea and Iran all qualified on June 8, 2005.
Teams that have clinched a play-off place are in italics.
Uzbekistan and Bahrain clinched play-off berths on August 17, 2005.

Group standings of the Final Round:

Group A Group B
1.  Saudi Arabia 1.  Japan
2.  South Korea 2.  Iran
3.  Uzbekistan 3.  Bahrain
4.  Kuwait 4.  North Korea

Uzbekistan and Bahrain (the 3rd place teams in each group) played a home-and-away match to determine Asia's representative in a playoff against CONCACAF's 4th place team, and are displayed in italics. On September 3, 2005, Uzbekistan won the first game 1-0, but FIFA decided that the match was to be declared void and ordered a replay following a refereeing blunder. The referee awarded Uzbekistan a penalty kick in the 38th minute. The penalty kick was successful but the referee deemed that a Uzbekistani player had entered the box prematurely. Rather than ordering Uzbekistan to retake the penalty as he should have done, the referee awarded Bahrain a free kick. Uzbekistan protested the game and argued that the game should be replayed from the point the penalty kick was awarded. FIFA accepted their protest, but ordered the whole game be replayed. Uzbekistan felt that this ruling was unfair since it punished them even though the referee's mistake benefited their opposition.

The playoffs were postponed to October 8, 2005 in Uzbekistan and October 12, 2005 in Bahrain. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw, and the 2nd leg match was a 0-0 draw. Bahrain, having scored one away goal to Uzbekistan's zero, advanced to the playoff. Trinidad and Tobago defeated Bahrain, 2-1 aggregate, to advance to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

North America, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF)

(4 berths by winning a playoff with Asia)

World Cup finalists are bolded. Teams clinched berths in this order:
United States clinched the first berth to Germany with a 2-0 win over Mexico on September 3, 2005.
Mexico clinched the second of the three guaranteed berths on September 7, 2005 with a 5-0 win over Panama.
Costa Rica clinched the final automatic berth on October 8, 2005 with a 3-0 win over the United States.
Trinidad and Tobago, earned a playoff with the Asian 5th-place winner Bahrain with a 2-1 victory over Mexico on October 12, 2005. They subsequently won the playoff on November 16, 2005 on aggregate 2-1, clinching a 2006 berth.

Group standings of the Final Round:

1.  United States
2.  Mexico
3.  Costa Rica
4.  Trinidad and Tobago
5.  Guatemala
6.  Panama


On November 12 and November 16, 2005, five two-legged playoffs were conducted, with the winners earning the last five places in the World Cup:


The teams that were involved in the playoffs are listed below. Qualifying countries shown in bold.

(Czech Republic, Turkey, and Spain were seeded because they were the three highest placed according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking for September 2005.)


Did not enter


External links