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. The International Association Football Federation (FIFA) is the world's most important governing body for association football. A majority of national association football teams in the world are members of FIFA or one of its affiliated continental confederations. A majority of them also represent sovereign states with wide international recognition, with 188 of 195 United Nations (UN) member and observer states holding membership of FIFA. A notable exception is the United Kingdom, which is not a member of FIFA in its own right but is represented in the governing body by the teams of its four constituent countries. Other UN members and one observer state have either held membership in a confederation in the past and subsequently lost it, or have never belonged to either FIFA or one of its recognised confederations.

Membership of FIFA and its confederations also includes national teams representing a few states with limited international recognition, one associated state with no UN membership, a significant number of dependent territories, and a limited number of autonomous areas. A majority of states with limited recognition, however, have no membership of FIFA or any of its confederations.

This list divides national teams into three main groups:

  • Teams that are either members of FIFA (211 teams), or have membership in a FIFA-affiliated continental confederation without being members of FIFA itself (11 teams).
  • Teams that are not members of FIFA or any continental federation, but which represent UN member and observer states. This group includes four United Nations member states and one observer state (5 teams).
  • Teams representing states with limited international recognition and no membership of FIFA or a confederation (7 teams), plus one representing an associated state with no membership of FIFA or a confederation.

This list excludes other teams described by their supporters as 'national', which represent specific ethnic groups, cultural/historical regions, separatist or autonomist movements, speakers of specific languages, and micronations. These teams have historically participated in matches and tournaments outside FIFA's recognition, though some of them have sporadically or regularly played in friendly matches and tournaments against FIFA members.

Some national teams with FIFA membership have disappeared due to belonging to a sovereign state or dependent territory which split into two or more states or territories (examples include the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, or the Netherlands Antilles), or by part of the territory becoming independent (such as the Ireland national football team, which ceased to exist as such after reaching a compromise with FIFA and recognising the Republic of Ireland national football team as representative of the independent part of Ireland). Other teams have disappeared by virtue of the states or territories they represented forming a new state by joining another entity or entities (examples include the teams representing Tanganyika and Malaya, which merged with other former colonies to respectively form the Tanzania and Malaysia football teams), or becoming part of an already existing state (as is the case with East Germany, which joined West Germany to form the unified Germany football team). In several cases the football records of dissolved teams are considered by FIFA as belonging to a successor entity (the Russia national team, for example, carries over the records of the Soviet Union national team). Defunct teams are listed on this page for historical purposes.

Even if only members of FIFA and its affiliated confederations are taken into account, there are more national association football teams in the world than those of any other sport.[1]

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 recognised 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 that 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) organises competitions between Arab League member nations.[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, organised historically by UAFA and by FIFA in 2021.

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA) is an organisation 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 organised 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 Hong Kong
  6. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for Islamic Republic of Iran
  7. Official name used by FIFA for Democratic People's Republic of Korea; official name used by AFC is DPR Korea
  8. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for Republic of Korea
  9. Official name used by FIFA and AFC for Kyrgyzstan
  10. National governing body is a full member of AFC but not a FIFA member
  11. National governing body was formerly a member of OFC (2005–2009)
  12. 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 DR 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

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 was formerly a member of AFC (1964–1966)
  3. Official name used by FIFA and the OFC for French Polynesia

UEFA (Europe)[edit]

  1. National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1954–1974); joined UEFA in 1994
  2. National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1993–2002)
  3. Team currently suspended from participation in FIFA and UEFA competitions in response to 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:

Unaffiliated United Nations states[edit]

Three UN members and one UN General Assembly observer state 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 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. National governing body was previously a member of the N.F.-Board and ConIFA.
  2. National governing body has been an associate member of the OFC in the past, but does not currently appear to be part of the confederation.[7]
  3. The United Kingdom (UK) 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.[8] The UK has also been represented in the Summer Olympic and Summer Universiade football competitions by its own national teams.

Two UN member states (the Marshall Islands and Nauru), have never fielded a national association-organised football team.[9][10]

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 seven associated, de facto, or partially recognised states with no UN membership have fielded football teams in non-FIFA football tournaments or FIFA-unsanctioned friendly matches.[11][12][13][14][15] 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. National governing body was previously an associate member of the OFC (membership revoked in March 2021).[16]
  3. National governing body was previously a member of the N.F.-Board.
  4. National governing body is a former member of ConIFA.

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),[17] 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".[18] In 2011, UEFA had already changed its statutes so that only countries recognised as independent states by the United Nations could join the organisation.[19], while CAF rescinded Zanzibar's full membership (which had been approved only months before) in 2017 on the grounds that Zanzibar is not a country as defined by the African Union and the United Nations.[20][21] With some exceptions (such as the acceptances of Gibraltar and Kosovo into FIFA and UEFA in 2016), these regulations have made it harder for aspiring national associations to join FIFA or its affiliated confederations. Examples include Jersey (UEFA application rejected in 2018),[22] Bonaire (FIFA application rejected in 2019),[23] Sint Maarten (FIFA application rejected in 2022 or before),[24] and Greenland (applied to CONCACAF in 2022 due to lack of prospects of being accepted into UEFA).[25]

Teams with international football participation outside the auspices of FIFA[edit]

International football matches have historically taken place without approval or sanctioning from FIFA or its associated confederations. Some national teams who are currently members of FIFA or a regional confederation played in matches or even official tournaments against FIFA members before being accepted into FIFA (examples include the Croatia, Kosovo, Palestine, Slovakia, and Slovenia football teams, among others). Some now-defunct national teams even participated in major international competitions against FIFA member nations without having ever been admitted into FIFA or one of its confederations (the most notorious example is the North Vietnam national football team, which participated in the Games of the New Emerging Forces football competitions). There have also been unsanctioned national teams set up to further the aims of national independence movements, such as the FLN football team.

In addition to the above, since the early 20th Century there have been teams representing dependent territories or autonomous areas which have played or continue to play matches and friendly tournaments against club sides, FIFA-affiliated national teams, or other dependent and autonomous territory teams without any sanctioning from FIFA or regional confederations (examples include the Jersey, Gibraltar, Catalonia, Basque Country, Faroe Islands, or Greenland football teams, among others).

Teams representing states with limited recognition, former states, dependent territories, autonomous areas, or regional, sub-national, ethnic, cultural, diaspora, immigrant, language, and micronational groups, many of whom were created in the early 21st Century, have played in international tournaments against each other, without recognition or approval from FIFA or any of its associated confederations. Several organizations not associated with FIFA have been in charge of these "national" team tournaments, some of which have included participants from all over the world (such as the Island Games, UNPO Cup, VIVA World Cup, and ConIFA World Football Cup), while others have been limited to a specific geographical area (such as the ConIFA regional tournaments, the Europeada, and the CSANF Cup.)

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA), was founded with the aim of giving teams without sanctioning from FIFA an opportunity to participate in international football.[26] This developed the work of the now-defunct N.F.-Board (Nouvelle Fédération-Board), founded in 2001, which also organised football tournaments between FIFA-unrecognised teams.[27] 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.[28] As of August 2021, 59 member associations from all over the world are affiliared with ConIFA.[29]

National football teams representing former nations[edit]

These national teams no longer exist due to the dissolution of the nation or territory that they represented. While historically there have existed national teams without FIFA membership which are now defunct (such as the Manchukuo and North Vietnam teams), only national teams that have held FIFA membership at some point in the past are listed on the following table.

Preceding team Successor team
(inherited position/results)
Other successor team(s) Notes
 Czechoslovakia
(Representation of Czechs and Slovaks in 1993)
 Czech Republic[30]
 Slovakia[31]
Represented Czechoslovakia until its dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.[30][31] Jointly represented both nations during the remainder of their 1994 World Cup qualifying games.[32]
 Saar  West Germany Represented the Saarland Protectorate from 1950 to 1956 before its union with the Federal Republic of Germany.[33]
 East Germany
(officially German Democratic Republic)
 Germany Represented East Germany between 1952 and 1990, before reunification with West Germany.[34]
 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.[35]
 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 reunification 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
(officially Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
 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.[36]
 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  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 autonomous territory in 1986 and was accepted into 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.[37]

New names[edit]

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

Non-FIFA teams representing former states[edit]

Some ConIFA members represent regions which existed as sovereign states in the past, but were never members of FIFA or one of its associated regional confederations. Examples include the Artsakh,[38] Biafra,[39] and East Turkestan[40] national football teams.

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]

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  2. ^ These are displayed in the main list in italics.
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  5. ^ "FIFA/UEFA suspend Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions". Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
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  9. ^ Rogers, Martin. "Marshall Islands rare nation untouched by soccer's sprawling reach". USA Today. Archived from the original on 18 May 2022. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Nauru 2014". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 5 August 2022. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
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  15. ^ "Tournaments (Russian)". www.ffpmr.md/. 27 March 2018. Archived from the original on 25 November 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Niue removed as associate member of Oceania Football". RNZ. Radio New Zealand. 6 March 2021. Archived from the original on 8 October 2022. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  17. ^ Nauright, John (6 April 2012). Sports around the World: History, Culture, and Practice [4 volumes]: History, Culture, and Practice. Abc-Clio. ISBN 9781598843019. Archived from the original on 12 November 2023. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  18. ^ "FIFA Statutes" (PDF). FIFA. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Arbitration CAS 2002/O/410 The Gibraltar Football Association (GFA)/Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA), award of 7 October 2003" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 February 2020. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
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  23. ^ "Caribbean island takes FIFA to court to join world soccer". The Washington Post. 9 September 2020. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  24. ^ "St. Maarten Football Federation takes FIFA to court over membership ruling". 5 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Not to UEFA! Greenland Applied to Join CONCACAF While Affiliated with FIFA". 14 August 2022. Archived from the original on 30 November 2022. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  26. ^ "ConIFA aim to lead non-FIFA football forward". Back Page Football. 13 February 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  27. ^ "Football Associations Members of the N.F.-Board". N.F.-Board. Archived from the original on 15 June 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  28. ^ Guardian Football Weekly (24 May 2018). "Unai Emery unveiled, England's new captain and Liverpool's big final – Football Weekly Extra". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  29. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on 11 August 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  30. ^ a b "Czechia". www.fifa.com. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  31. ^ a b "Slovakia". www.fifa.com. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  32. ^ "World Cup Ends on Belgian Note". The Prague Post. Archived from the original on 12 November 2023. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  33. ^ "Saarland 1950-1955". When Saturday Comes. Archived from the original on 21 March 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  34. ^ "Germany: When East and West became one". FIFA. Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  35. ^ Byrne, Peter (1996). Football Association of Ireland: 75 years. Dublin: Sportsworld. p. 68. ISBN 1-900110-06-7.
  36. ^ Furmanov, Vadim (5 January 2018). "The National Team Without a Nation: The Story of the CIS at Euro 92". Futbolgrad. Archived from the original on 6 July 2022. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  37. ^ "Inter Island Matches Saba/Sint Eustatius". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 26 December 2022. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  38. ^ "Artsakh".
  39. ^ "Biafra FF".
  40. ^ "East Turkistan FA".


External links[edit]