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1990 FIFA World Cup qualification: Map


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A total of 116 teams entered the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 24 spots in the final tournament. Italy, as the hosts, and Argentina, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 22 spots open for competition.

The 24 spots available in the 1990 World Cup would be distributed among the continental zones as follows:
  • Europe (UEFA): 14 places, 1 of them went to automatic qualifier Italy, while the other 13 places were contested by 32 teams.
  • South America (CONMEBOL): 3.5 places, 1 of them went to automatic qualifier Argentina, 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 OFC).
  • North, Central America and Caribbeanmarker (CONCACAF): 2 places, contested by 16 teams.
  • Africa (CAF): 2 places, contested by 26 teams.
  • Asia (AFC): 2 places, contested by 26 teams.
  • Oceania (OFC): 0.5 place, contested by 5 teams (including Israel and Chinese Taipei). The winner of the 0.5 place would advance to the Intercontinental Play-offs (against a team from CONMEBOL).

A total of 103 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 314 qualifying matches were played, and 735 goals were scored (an average of 2.34 per match).

Continental zones

To see the dates and results of the qualification rounds for each continental zone, click on the following articles:
Group 1 - Romania qualified.
Group 2 - Sweden and England qualified.
Group 3 - USSR and Austria qualified.
Group 4 - Netherlands and West Germany qualified.
Group 5 - Yugoslavia and Scotland qualified.
Group 6 - Spain and Republic of Ireland qualified.
Group 7 - Belgium and Czechoslovakia qualified.
Group 1 - Uruguay qualified.
Group 2 - Colombia advanced to the CONMEBOL / OFC Intercontinental Play-off.
Group 3 - Brazil qualified.
Costa Rica and USA qualified.
Egypt and Cameroon qualified.
South Korea and UAE qualified.
Israel advanced to the CONMEBOL / OFC Intercontinental Play-off.

Intercontinental Play-offs

The teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis. The winner would qualify.

CONMEBOL / OFC Intercontinental Play-off

October 15, 1989, Barranquillamarker, Colombiamarker -

October 30, 1989, Ramat Ganmarker, Israelmarker -

Colombia qualified by the aggregate score of 1-0.

Qualified teams

Qualifying countries

Team Finals Appearance Streak Last Appearance
(c) 10th 5 1986
6th 1 1982
8th 3 1986
14th 14 1986
2nd 1 1982
2nd 1 1962
1st 1
8th 1 1982
2nd 1 1934
9th 3 1986
(h) 12th 8 1986
3rd 2 1986
5th 1 1978
1st 1
5th 1 1970
7th 5 1986
8th 4 1986
8th 1 1978
1st 1
4th 1 1950
9th 2 1986
7th 3 1986
8th 1 1982
12th 10 1986

(h) - qualified automatically as hosts

(c) - qualified automatically as defending champions


  • On August 12, 1989, Samuel Okwaraji collapsed and died whilst playing for Nigeria in their qualifying match against Angola, ten minutes before the end.
  • One of the most bizarre incidents in World Cup history occurred on September 3, 1989. During the Brazil vs Chile qualifying match at Rio De Janeiro's Maracanã stadium, Brazil led Chile 1-0, and Chile needed to win to stay in the tournament. Around the 67-minute mark, Chilean goalkeeper Roberto "Cóndor" Rojas fell to the pitch with an apparent injury to his forehead. A firework, thrown from the stands by a Brazilian fan named Rosemary de Mello, was smouldering about a yard away. After carrying Rojas off the pitch, the Chilean players and coaches refused to return claiming conditions were not safe, and the match went unfinished. After studying video footage of the match showing that the firework had not made contact with Rojas, FIFA awarded Brazil a 2-0 win, eliminating Chile from the 1990 World Cup. As a result, Chile were barred from the qualifiers of the 1994 Football World Cup, and Rojas was banned for life. The ban was lifted in 2001.

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