The European Zone of qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw 53 teams competing for 13 places at the finals in Brazil. The qualification process started on 7 September 2012, over two months after the end of UEFA Euro 2012, and ended on 19 November 2013. There were nine winners of each qualifying group as well as the winners of four play-offs between group runners-up.
All 53 UEFA national teams entered qualification, aiming to secure one of the 13 European Zone slots for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The draw for the qualification groups was held at the World Cup Preliminary Draw at the Marina da Glória in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 30 July 2011. The qualification format was the same as 2010. The teams were drawn into eight groups of six teams and one group of five, with the nine group winners qualifying directly for the final tournament. The eight best runners-up (determined by records against the first-, third-, fourth- and fifth-placed teams in their groups to ensure equity between different groups) were drawn in two-legged play-offs that determined the remaining four qualifying nations.
The July 2011 FIFA World Rankings were used to seed the teams. In consideration of the delicate political situations of the relationships between Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as relations between Russia and Georgia, UEFA requested that FIFA maintain the current UEFA policy not to draw these teams into the same qualification groups – although as Armenia and Azerbaijan were in the same pot they could not be drawn together anyway. The mechanism for keeping Russia and Georgia apart was confirmed by the FIFA Organising Committee on 29 July 2011.
Teams were allocated to seeding pots as follows (July 2011 FIFA Rankings shown in brackets; the countries which eventually qualified for the final tournament are presented in bold):
Because one group had one team fewer than the others, matches against the last-placed team in each of the six-team groups were not included in this ranking. As a result, eight matches played by each team counted for the purposes of the second-placed table.
The eight best runners-ups determined by the following parameters in this order:
The second round draw took place at the headquarters of FIFA in Zurich on 21 October 2013. The October 2013 FIFA World Rankings were used to decide which of the teams would be seeded (shown below in brackets).
The following teams participated in the second round:
In the qualification tournament, a player would be suspended for the subsequent match in the competition for either getting red card or accumulating two yellow cards in two different matches. UEFA's Control and Disciplinary body has the ability to increase the automatic one match ban for a red card (e.g., for violent conduct). Single yellow card cautions would be erased prior to the play-off portion, and would not carry over. Single yellow cards and suspensions for yellow card accumulations do not carry over to the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament matches. The following players were suspended during the final tournament – for one or more games – as a result of red cards or yellow card accumulations: