List of men's national association football teams

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This is a list of the men's national association football teams in the world. There are more nations with football teams than for any other sport,[1] with teams representing 191 of the 193 UN member states, as well as several dependent territories, sub-national entities, and states who are not members of the United Nations. This list divides teams into two main groups:

  • Teams that are either members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world's football governing body (211 teams), or have membership in a FIFA-affiliated continental confederation without being members of FIFA (11 teams).
  • Teams that are not members of FIFA or any continental federation, but which represent sovereign states. This group includes United Nations members and observer states, as well as states who are not members of the UN (11 teams).

This list excludes other teams, which generally play outside FIFA's recognition. Excluded teams include those who represent ethnic groups, sub-national entities, separatist movements, and pseudo- or micro-nations.

Members of FIFA affiliated confederations[edit]

Map of the World with the six confederations:

This section lists the current:

  • 211 men's national football teams affiliated to FIFA, through their national football associations.
  • 11 men's national football teams who have membership in one of FIFA's affiliated continental confederations, but are not members of FIFA.[2]

FIFA members are eligible to enter the FIFA World Cup and matches between them are recognized as official international matches. Based on their match results over the previous four-year period, the FIFA Men's World Rankings, published monthly by FIFA, compare the relative strengths of the national teams.

Some national teams who are members of a confederation but not FIFA members compete in confederation-level and subregional tournaments. These teams, however, are not allowed to participate in the World Cup.

The six confederations are:

FIFA runs the World Cup as a tournament for national teams to find the world champion. Each confederation also runs its own championship to find the best team from among its members:

The Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) contains Arab League member nations outside of the confederations structure.[3] All 22 national governing bodies that form UAFA are also members of both FIFA and either the AFC or CAF. National teams from UAFA member countries are noted in the list below. The Arab Cup is the top championship tournament for national teams, organized historically by UAFA and by FIFA in 2021.

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA) is an organization for teams representing unrecognised states, subnational regions, and stateless minorities, as well as teams from recognised states that have not managed to gain entry into FIFA. ConIFA is a successor to the Nouvelle Fédération-Board (N.F.-Board), which also organized tournaments for non-FIFA member teams. While none of the current ConIFA members are also members of FIFA, a few hold associate membership in one of the confederations affiliated with it. These teams are also noted in the list below.[4] The ConIFA World Football Cup is the top tournament for ConIFA member nations.

AFC (Asia)[edit]

Due to the geographical size of Asia, the AFC is subdivided into five sub-federations:

  1. National governing body was formerly a member of OFC (1966–2006)
  2. National governing body is a member of UAFA
  3. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for People's Republic of China
  4. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for Republic of China (Taiwan); national governing body was a member of OFC from 1975 to 1989
  5. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for Islamic Republic of Iran
  6. Official name used by FIFA for Democratic People's Republic of Korea; official name used by AFC is DPR Korea
  7. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for Republic of Korea
  8. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for Kyrgyzstan
  9. National governing body is a full member of AFC but not a FIFA member
  10. National governing body was formerly a member of OFC (2005–2009)
  11. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for national team representing the Palestinian Territories

CAF (Africa)[edit]

Due to the geographical size of Africa, CAF is divided into five regional federations:

  1. National governing body is a member of UAFA
  2. Official name used by FIFA for Democratic Republic of the Congo; official name used by CAF is RD Congo
  3. National governing body is an associate member of CAF, but not a FIFA member
  4. National governing body was a full member of CAF briefly during 2017
  5. National governing body is a member of ConIFA. Was previously a member of the N.F.-Board.

CONCACAF (North, Central America, and the Caribbean)[edit]

The CONCACAF federation is divided into three regional federations that have responsibility for part of the region's geographical area:

  1. National governing body is a full member of CONCACAF but not a FIFA member

CONMEBOL (South America)[edit]

OFC (Oceania)[edit]

  1. National governing body is an associate member of the OFC, but not a FIFA member
  2. National governing body is a member of ConIFA
  3. National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1964–1966)

UEFA (Europe)[edit]

  1. The United Kingdom is not a member of FIFA or UEFA in its own right, being represented instead by the teams of its four constituent nations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales). However, an exhibition UK team has played a small number of friendly matches (see 'National teams not affiliated to FIFA confederations' below)
  2. National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1954–1974); joined UEFA in 1994
  3. National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1993–2002)
  4. Suspended from participation in FIFA and UEFA competitions as a result of Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine[5]

National teams not affiliated to FIFA confederations[edit]

The national football teams included in this section are not members of FIFA, or of any of its affiliated continental confederations. The teams are not eligible to enter the FIFA World Cup or any continental confederation championships. FIFA's statutes do not allow member teams to compete against these sides without FIFA's prior permission.[6] Several national associations for teams included in this section are members of ConIFA; these are indicated in the lists below.

This section lists:

  • 5 teams representing sovereign states who are members or observers of the United Nations.
  • 10 teams representing states which are not members of the United Nations.

Unaffiliated United Nations states[edit]

Four UN member and observer states do not have any sort of membership in FIFA or any continental federation, but have fielded national association-organised teams in unofficial friendly matches or in tournaments held outside the auspices of FIFA. Another UN member state, while only being officially represented in FIFA and UEFA by the teams of its constituent nations, has also fielded a team representing the entire state in exhibition matches. The national teams of these five states are listed below.

  1. Official name used by the Pacific Games Council for Micronesia.[7]
  2. National governing body is a member of ConIFA. Was previously a member of the N.F.-Board.
  3. Palau has been an associate member of the OFC in the past, but it does not currently appear to be part of the confederation.[8]
  4. The United Kingdom is not a member of FIFA or UEFA in its own right, being represented instead by the teams of its four constituent nations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales). However, an exhibition UK team has played a small number of friendly matches.[9] The UK has also been represented in the men's Olympic football competition by its own national team.

Two other UN member states (the Marshall Islands and Nauru) have never fielded a national association-organised football team.[10][11]

Unaffiliated non-UN states[edit]

Three states with limited international recognition and no UN membership are members of both FIFA and an affiliated confederation: the Republic of China (as Chinese Taipei), Kosovo, and Palestine. The Cook Islands is an associated state with no UN membership, but it is a member of both FIFA and the OFC. The national teams representing these states are all listed above.

A further ten associated, de facto, or partially recognized states with no UN membership have fielded football teams in non-FIFA football tournaments or FIFA-unsanctioned friendly matches.[12][13][14][15][16] None of these states, however, are currently members of FIFA or any of its affiliated continental confederations. The teams representing these states are listed below.

  1. National governing body is currently a member of ConIFA.
  2. Previously known as Nagorno-Karabakh national football team. As of August 2021, the ConIFA world rankings designate the team as Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).[17]
  3. Official name used by ConIFA for the Donetsk People's Republic.[18]
  4. Official name used by ConIFA for the Luhansk People's Republic.[19]
  5. National governing body was previously a member of the N.F.-Board.
  6. National governing body was formerly an associate member of the OFC (membership revoked in March 2021).[20]

Others[edit]

Membership criteria of FIFA and affiliated confederations[edit]

Historically, the majority of FIFA and confederation members have been sovereign states with wide diplomatic recognition. Exceptions to this rule have included the British Home Nations (due to their seminal role in the development of football), Palestine (accepted into FIFA after the creation of the Palestinian National Authority),[21] the Republic of China (which does not enjoy wide recognition but is still accepted as representative of the Taiwan area), and certain dependent territories, autonomous areas, and protectorates which, on the grounds of their political autonomy, separate status, and/or distance from their parent state, have been allowed to hold membership in FIFA and/or one of its affiliated confederations. At present, FIFA members include 23 subnational and dependent territories, as well as three states with limited international recognition.[note 3] A further nine overseas, dependent, and autonomous territories with close ties to a sovereign state do not have membership in FIFA, but are members of one of its affiliated confederations (either in a full or associate capacity).

In 2016, FIFA made changes to its statutes to define 'country' as "an independent state recognized by the international community".[22] The statutes further specify that a non-independent region can become a member with the authorization of the national association of the country where it is located.[23] In 2011, UEFA had already changed its statutes so that only countries recognised as independent states by the United Nations could join the organization.[24] Nonetheless, the associations of Kosovo (a state with limited recognition whose sovereignty is disputed by Serbia) and Gibraltar (a British dependent territory claimed by Spain), neither of whom have separate UN membership, were accepted into both FIFA and UEFA in 2016.[25][26] Conversely, the application of the British crown dependency of Jersey to join UEFA was rejected in 2018, on the grounds of it not being a sovereign country as defined by the UN.[27]

Recently, FIFA and its affiliated confederations have rejected or rescinded membership for non-sovereign territories arguing that they cannot include more than one football association from the same country. For example, CAF rescinded Zanzibar's full membership (which had been approved only months before) in 2017 on the grounds that football in Zanzibar is under the auspices of the Tanzanian federation.[28] In 2019, FIFA used a similar argument to reject Bonaire's bid to join as a football association separate from the Netherlands, despite Bonaire being a full CONCACAF member in its own right.[29]

Separatist, subnational, and ethnic teams[edit]

Beyond this list, a variety of teams representing dependent territories or national, separatist, sub-national, ethnic, and diaspora groups have been formed. These teams often play in international tournaments against each other, and in some cases in unsanctioned friendly games against FIFA members (for example, teams representing specific Spanish autonomous communities).[30] Some subnational and dependent territory teams with no FIFA membership participate in regional football tournaments against FIFA or UN member nations (for example, the Mayotte and Reunion teams at the Indian Ocean Island Games or individual Micronesian state teams at the Micronesian Games).

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA), was founded with the aim of regularising non-FIFA international football, by having a two-year international tournament cycle, with the ConIFA World Football Cup in even numbered years, and continental tournaments in odd-numbered years.[31] This developed the work of the now-defunct N.F.-Board (Nouvelle Fédération-Board), founded in 2001, which also organized football tournaments between FIFA-unrecognised teams.[32] ConIFA aims to help unrecognised national teams gain recognition, but also to provide a platform for representative teams of regions or diasporas, which do not have a place in a system of international football based on nation-states.[33] As of August 2021, 59 member associations from all over the world are affiliared with ConIFA.[34] ConIFA is not the only body dedicated to organising football tournaments between non-FIFA national teams; other initiatives include the Island Games football tournament, the now-defunct Coupe de l'Outremer for French overseas territories, and the CSANF competitions between (mostly) South American regional and ethnic communities, among others.

Former national football teams[edit]

These national teams no longer exist due to the dissolution of the nation or territory that they represented. Only national teams that were once members of FIFA are listed below.

Preceding team Successor team
(inherited position/results)
Other successor team(s) Notes
 Czechoslovakia
(Representation of Czechs and Slovaks in 1993)
 Czech Republic[35]  Slovakia Represented Czechoslovakia until its dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.[36] Joinly represented both nations during the remainder of their 1994 World Cup qualifying games.[37]
 Saar  West Germany Represented the Saarland Protectorate from 1950 to 1956 before its union with the Federal Republic of Germany.[38]
 East Germany
(officially German Democratic Republic)
 Germany Represented East Germany between 1952 and 1990, before reunification with West Germany.[39]
 Ireland  Northern Ireland  Republic of Ireland Represented Ireland from 1882. From 1922, when the Irish Free State (later Republic of Ireland) left the United Kingdom, until 1953, it continued to pick players from across the Island of Ireland, before becoming restricted to players solely from Northern Ireland under pressure from FIFA.[40]
 Malaya  Malaysia Represented the Federation of Malaya from 1953 until its union with Sarawak, North Borneo and Singapore to form Malaysia in 1963. Singapore, which gained independence in 1965, retained its preexisting national team.
 Tanganyika  Tanzania Represented Tanganyika until its union with Zanzibar as Tanzania in 1964. Zanzibar is an associate member of CAF and so is not a member of FIFA.
 South Vietnam  Vietnam Represented South Vietnam from 1949 until 1975. A separate team representing North Vietnam never received FIFA or AFC membership. On the reunificaiton of Vietnam, both the North and South teams ceased to exist, with a unified Vietnam national football team taking the South's place in both FIFA and the AFC.
 North Yemen
(officially Yemen Arab Republic)
 Yemen Represented North Yemen from 1965 until its union with South Yemen in 1990.
 South Yemen
(officially People's Democratic Republic of Yemen)
 Yemen Represented South Yemen from 1965 until its union with North Yemen in 1990.
 United Arab Republic  Egypt  Syria Represented the United Arab Republic from 1958 to 1961 until the secession of Syria. Was considered a continuation of the previous Egypt national football team, which became its successor team. The team continued to be known as the United Arab Republic until 1970.
 Russian Empire  Soviet Union Represented Russian Empire from 1912 to 1923 until its transition into Soviet Union.
 Soviet Union  CIS  Estonia
 Latvia
 Lithuania
Represented the Soviet Union from 1940 until its dissolution in 1991. This was considered a continuation of the team that had previously represented the Russian Empire. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had all had active football teams prior to their incorporation into the Soviet Union in 1940, and did not participate in the CIS team.[41]
 CIS  Russia  Armenia
 Azerbaijan
 Belarus
 Georgia
 Kazakhstan
 Kyrgyzstan
 Moldova
 Tajikistan
 Turkmenistan
 Ukraine
 Uzbekistan
Represented the Commonwealth of Independent States and Georgia from January 1992 until the end of the Euro 1992 tournament.
 Yugoslavia  FR Yugoslavia  Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Croatia
 North Macedonia
 Slovenia
Represented Yugoslavia between 1920 and 1992, before the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, North Macedonia and Slovenia
 Serbia and Montenegro  Serbia  Montenegro
 Kosovo
Represented the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, known as Serbia and Montenegro after 2003, from 1992 until its dissolution into Serbia and Montenegro in 2006. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and its national team was accepted into UEFA and FIFA in 2016.
 Netherlands Antilles  Curaçao  Aruba
 Bonaire
 Sint Maarten
Aruba became a separate nation in 1986 and was recognized by FIFA in 1988. The former team represented the Netherlands Antilles until the dissolution of the country in 2010. Formerly known as "Curaçao", this name was restored in March 2011 when the new constituent country of Curaçao was given the Netherlands Antilles' place in FIFA and CONCACAF. The teams representing the former Netherlands Antilles territories of Bonaire and Sint Maarten are full members of CONCACAF, but not of FIFA. Two other former Netherlands Antilles territories (Saba and Sint Eustatius) have fielded national teams in unofficial friendly matches in the past, but neither has membership of FIFA or a continental federation.[42]

New names[edit]

In addition to the above, other teams have been renamed:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Additionally 22 nations in Africa and Asia belong to the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) in addition to their respective regional confederations.
  2. ^ Guyana and Suriname are independent countries, and French Guiana is an overseas department and region of France
  3. ^ The FIFA-affiliated football teams that belong to non-UN members are:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Michael. "Biggest Global Sports". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  2. ^ These are displayed in the main list in italics.
  3. ^ "AFC and UAFA sign Memorandum of Understanding". AFC. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Members". CONIFA. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  5. ^ "FIFA/UEFA suspend Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions".
  6. ^ "FIFA Statutes: July 2012 Edition" (PDF). FIFA. pp. Article 83. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Pacific Games Council". pacificgamescouncil.com. 2016.
  8. ^ "World Cups and Beyond: Interview #6 (April 2013): Palau Football Asssociation [sic] president Charles Mitchell". 26 April 2013.
  9. ^ "England Player Honours - International Representative Teams". England Football Online. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  10. ^ Rogers, Martin. "Marshall Islands rare nation untouched by soccer's sprawling reach". USA Today. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Nauru 2014". RSSSF. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Abkhazia founds national football team". Vestnik Kavkaza. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Somaliland". wordpress.com. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Non-FIFA Football Updates: South Ossetia make international bow in Abkhazia loss". nonfifafootball.blogspot.co.uk. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Tournaments (Russian)". www.ffpmr.md/. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  17. ^ "World Rankings".
  18. ^ "World Rankings".
  19. ^ "World Rankings".
  20. ^ "Niue removed as associate member of Oceania Football". RNZ. Radio New Zealand. 6 March 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  21. ^ Nauright, John (6 April 2012). Sports around the World: History, Culture, and Practice [4 volumes]: History, Culture, and Practice. ISBN 9781598843019.
  22. ^ "FIFA Statutes" (PDF). FIFA. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  23. ^ "FIFA Statutes" (PDF). FIFA. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  24. ^ "Arbitration CAS 2002/O/410 The Gibraltar Football Association (GFA)/Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA), award of 7 October 2003" (PDF).
  25. ^ Homewood, Brian (13 May 2016). "Gibraltar, Kosovo accepted as members of FIFA". Reuters. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  26. ^ "Kosovo admitted as 55th member of European governing body UEFA". Sky Sports. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  27. ^ "Jersey: Uefa congress rejects application to become international football nation". BBC Sport. 26 February 2018.
  28. ^ "African soccer body passes new statutes, throws out Zanzibar". USA TODAY.
  29. ^ "Caribbean island takes FIFA to court to join world soccer". The Washington Post. 9 September 2020.
  30. ^ "Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot". outcasts-book.blogspot.com.
  31. ^ "ConIFA aim to lead non-FIFA football forward". Back Page Football. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  32. ^ "Football Associations Members of the N.F.-Board". N.F.-Board. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  33. ^ Guardian Football Weekly (24 May 2018). "Unai Emery unveiled, England's new captain and Liverpool's big final – Football Weekly Extra". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  34. ^ "Home".
  35. ^ "Czech Republic Country Info". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  36. ^ "Czech Republic - Profile". FIFA. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  37. ^ "World Cup Ends on Belgian Note". The Prague Post. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  38. ^ "Saarland 1950-1955". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  39. ^ "Germany: When East and West became one". FIFA. Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  40. ^ Byrne, Peter (1996). Football Association of Ireland: 75 years. Dublin: Sportsworld. p. 68. ISBN 1-900110-06-7.
  41. ^ Furmanov, Vadim (5 January 2018). "The National Team Without a Nation: The Story of the CIS at Euro 92". Futbolgrad. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  42. ^ "Inter Island Matches Saba/Sint Eustatius". www.rsssf.com.


External links[edit]