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The qualification competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup was a series of tournaments organised by the six FIFAmarker confederations. Each confederation — the AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), CONCACAF (North America), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania), and UEFA (Europe) — was allocated a certain number of the 32 places at the tournament. A total of 204 teams entered the qualification process, with South Africa, as the host, qualifying automatically. The first qualification matches were played on 25 August 2007 and qualification concluded on 18 November 2009. Overall, 2337 goals were scored over 848 matches.


At the close of entries on 15 March 2007, 204 football associations had entered the preliminary competition: 203 out of the 207 FIFA members at that time (including the host nation, South Africa, as the qualification procedure in Africa also acted as the qualification for the 2010 African Cup of Nations) and the Montenegro team, which later became FIFA's 208th member. The final number of teams entered breaks the previous record of 199 entrants set during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Four FIFA members (all from the AFC) failed to register for the tournament: Bhutan, Brunei, Laos, and the Philippines.

After the close of entries, Bhutan were allowed to enter and were included in the Asian preliminary draw, while Brunei and the Philippines had their late entries rejected.

However, five teams withdrew during qualifying without playing a match: Bhutan, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Guam, and São Tomé and Príncipe. In addition, Papua New Guinea failed to meet the registration deadline for the South Pacific Games (which was also the initial stage of the Oceania qualification) and took no part in qualification.

Qualified teams

Final qualification status

Team qualified for the World Cup.
Team failed to qualify.
Country did not enter World Cup.
Country is not part of FIFA.
The following 32 teams qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup:

Team Qualified as Qualification date Appearance

in finals

Previous best performance FIFA

0015 May 2004 (Last: 2002) 86
016 June 2009 43
026 June 2009 21
036 June 2009 52
046 June 2009 3
0517 June 2009 (Last: 1966) 84
065 September 2009 2
076 September 2009 37
089 September 2009 9
099 September 2009 1
109 September 2009 30
1110 October 2009 16
1210 October 2009 6
1310 October 2009 (Last: 2002) 26
1410 October 2009 20
1510 October 2009 4
1610 October 2009 (Last: 1998) 17
1710 October 2009 15
1810 October 2009 14
1914 October 2009 18
2014 October 2009 (Last: 1990) 34
2114 October 2009 8
2214 October 2009 (Last: 1982) 38
2314 November 2009 (Last: 1982) 77
2414 November 2009 (Last: 2002) 22
2514 November 2009 (Last: 2002) 11
2618 November 2009 (Last: 1986) 28
2718 November 2009 (Last: 1994) 12
2818 November 2009 (Last: 2002) 33
2918 November 2009 5
3018 November 2009 7
3118 November 2009 (Last: 2002) 19

1. Standings on 20 November 2009.
2. Germany between 1951 and 1990 is often referred to as "West Germany", as a separate East German state and team existed then.
3. Competed as SFR Yugoslavia from 1930 to 1990, and FR Yugoslaviamarker from 1992 - 1998 and Serbia and Montenegro for 2006; 1st appearance as Serbia.
4. Competed as Czechoslovakia from 1934 to 1990; 1st appearance as Slovakia.
5. No official third place match took place in 1930 and no official third place was awarded at the time; both United States and Yugoslavia lost in the semi-finals. However, FIFA lists the teams as third and fourth respectively. 1930 FIFA World Cup Uruguay

Qualification process

The qualification process commenced in August 2007 and was completed in November 2009. An initial draw for preliminary qualification (qualifying groups in Oceania, and knockout ties in CAF and AFC) had been announced for Zurichmarker on 28 May 2007, but none was held.

Initial groups for the Oceania qualification were eventually held in Aucklandmarker, New Zealandmarker in early June, with preliminary draws for the Asian and African qualification announced in August.

The draw for the main 2010 World Cup qualifying groups was held in Durbanmarker, South Africa on 25 November 2007. 34 teams had been eliminated before the actual draw — 6 from OFC, 5 from CAF and 23 from AFC — and CONMEBOL qualification also had started (no draw was required for this confederation, as all 10 members play in the same group, with the order of fixtures the same as for the 2006 qualification rounds). The 4 remaining teams from OFC had also started playing the final stage as a single group, and no draw was needed. Therefore, the draw of 25 November involved 156 FIFA members from the original 205 entries, divided as follows: UEFA–53 entries in draw; CAF–48 entries in draw (original 53 minus 5 preliminary round losers and withdrawals); AFC–20 entries in draw (original 43 minus 23 1st and 2nd round losers and withdrawals); and CONCACAF–35 entries in draw.

The distribution by confederation for the 2010 World Cup was:
  • Europe (UEFA): 13 places
  • Africa (CAF): 5 places (+ South Africa qualified automatically as host nation for a total of 6 places)
  • Asia (AFC): 4 or 5 places
  • South America (CONMEBOL) 4 or 5 places
  • North, Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF): 3 or 4 places
  • Oceania (Oceania Football Confederation): 0 or 1 place

UEFA and CAF have a guaranteed number of places, the number of qualifiers from other confederations is dependent on play-offs between the highest placed teams in the qualification tournaments not guaranteed a place in the finals, with CONCACAF's fourth-place team facing CONMEBOL's fifth-placed team, and AFC's fifth-placed team facing the winner of the OFC.

As the host nation, South Africa qualifies automatically. As in 2006, the current cup holders - Italy - did not qualify automatically.

Confederation Teams started Teams eliminated Teams qualified Qualifying end date
UEFA 53 40 13 18 November 2009
CAF 52+1 47 5+1 18 November 2009
CONCACAF 35 32 3 18 November 2009
CONMEBOL 10 5 5 18 November 2009
AFC 43 39 4 14 November 2009
OFC 10 9 1 14 November 2009
Total 203+1 172 31+1 18 November 2009


For FIFA World Cup qualifying stages the method used for separating teams level on points is the same for all Confederations, as decided by FIFA itself. If teams are even on points at the end of group play, the tied teams will be ranked by:
  1. goal difference in all group matches
  2. greater number of goals scored in all group matches
  3. greater number of points obtained in matches between the tied teams
  4. goal difference in matches between the tied teams
  5. greater number of goals scored in matches between the tied teams
  6. drawing of lots, or a play-off (if approved by FIFA)
This is a change from 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification, where results between tied teams was the first tiebreaker.

Confederation qualification processes

Africa (CAF)

(53 teams competing for 5 berths, host South Africa occupying a 6th berth)

The CAF qualification process began with a preliminary round played on 13 October and 17 November 2007 to narrow the field to 48 teams, and then 12 groups of 4 teams were drawn in Durban in November 2007.

The 12 groups winners and 8 best runners-up advanced to the next stage. The procedure was complicated due to two of the groups being reduced to just 3 teams due to the withdrawal of Eritrea (before the commencement of the group) and the exclusion of Ethiopia (which saw all their results annulled). As a result, the comparison of the 12 runners-up did not include results against teams finishing fourth in 4-team groups.

The remaining 20 teams were placed in 5 groups of 4 teams at a draw held in Zurich on 22 October 2008. The winners of these groups will qualify to the World Cup finals.

The qualifying competition for the 2010 World Cup was combined with the qualification process for the 2010 African Cup of Nations. Since South Africa is hosting the World Cup, it has automatically qualified, although it (unlike hosts in previous qualifying tournaments since 1938) played in the qualifiers themselves to facilitate the use of the same set of qualifying matches for the 2010 African Cup of Nations.

Had South Africa advanced to the third round (second group stage), their matches would not have been counted in determining who advances to the World Cup finals. However, South Africa were eliminated from the qualifiers after the second round. This means that they cannot qualify for the African Cup of Nations, and all matches in Round 3 count towards World Cup qualification.

Legend for Qualifying Countries
Countries that qualified for the 2010 World Cup and 2010 African Cup of Nations
Countries that qualified for the 2010 African Cup of Nations

Final positions (Third Round)

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group E

In Group C, Algeria and Egypt finished with identical overall and head-to-head records. A tiebreaking play-off was contested on 18 November 2009 in Sudan to determine which team would qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with Algeria prevailing 1–0.

Asia (AFC)

(43 teams competing for 4 or 5 berths; a playoff against OFC determines which confederation gets the extra berth)

Two preliminary rounds (one in October 2007 and one in the first half of November) narrowed the field from 43 to 20 prior to the group stage draw in Durban on 25 November 2007.

The group stage draw divided the 20 remaining sides into 5 groups of 4, which were played from February to June 2008, from which the winners and runners-up advanced to the final group stage. The winners and runners-up from 2 final groups of 5 nations (playing from September 2008 to June 2009) will qualify automatically for the World Cup finals, with the 2 third-placed sides playing off in September 2009 for the right to compete against the Oceania winner for a final qualification spot (with matches played in October and November 2009).

The knock-out preliminary rounds themselves were somewhat unusual, with all 38 AFC sides that did not qualify for the 2006 World Cup playing in the first knock-out round, but the 11 best-ranked winners from that round receiving byes in the second round (and only the 8 lowest-ranked winners competing to reduce the fields of teams to 20).

Legend for Qualifying Countries
Countries that directly qualified for the 2010 World Cup
Countries that advanced to the AFC play-off

Final positions (Fourth Round)

Group A

Group B

Play-off for 5th place (Fifth Round)

2 – 2 on aggregate; Bahrain advanced on the away goals rule to the AFC-OFC playoff against , the winner of the OFC zone (2008 OFC Nations Cup).

Europe (UEFA)

(53 teams competing for 13 berths)

The European qualification games started in August 2008 after Euro 2008. Eight groups of six teams and one group of five contested the European qualifying competition. As a result, the nine group-winners qualified directly, while the best eight of the nine second-placed teams contested home and away play-off matches for the remaining four places. In determining the best eight second-placed teams, the results against teams finishing last in the six-team groups were not counted for consistency between the five- and six-team groups.

The First Round was completed on 14 October 2009. A draw for the Second Round was held in Zurichmarker on 19 October, with the matches played on 14 and 18 November.

Legend for Qualifying Countries
Countries that directly qualified for the 2010 World Cup
Countries that advanced to the Second Round

Final positions (First Round)

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Group 6

Group 7

Group 8

Group 9

Second Round

The Second Round was contested by the top eight runners up. With one group having one team fewer than the others, matches against the sixth-placed team in each of the other groups were not included in this ranking.

The draw for the second round play-offs was held in Zürich on 19 October, and the matches were played on 14 and 18 November 2009. The eight teams were seeded according to the FIFA World Rankings released on 16 October. The top four teams were seeded into one pot, with the bottom four teams seeded into a second. A separate draw was conducted between each matchup to decide who would host the first leg.

France, Portugal, Greece and Slovenia qualified for the 2010 World Cup.

North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF)

(35 teams competing for 3 or 4 berths; a playoff against CONMEBOL determines which confederation gets the extra berth)

The CONCACAF qualification process is identical to that for the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification, except that as Puerto Rico competed this time (they were the only CONCACAF member not to enter 2006 qualification), there were 11 matches instead of 10 in the first preliminary round, and thus 13 teams instead of 14 received a bye to the second preliminary round. The two preliminary rounds, played in the first half of 2008, reduced the 35 entrants to 24 and then 12 teams. 3 semi-final groups of 4 were played between August and November 2008, with the top two in each group advancing to a final 6-team group held during 2009. The top 3 of this group qualified for the World Cup finals; the 4th-place team advancing to the playoff against the 5th-place CONMEBOL team.

Legend for Qualifying Countries
Countries that directly qualified for the 2010 World Cup
Country that advanced to the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL playoff

Final positions (Fourth Round)

Oceania (OFC)

(10 teams competing for 0 or 1 berth; a playoff against AFC determines which confederation gets the extra berth. Tuvalu also played in the qualifying tournament, but was not an entrant to the World Cup qualification)

The qualification process began with a tournament at the 2007 South Pacific Games in August 2007. The top three (New Caledonia, Fiji, and Vanuatu, respectively) joined New Zealand in a 4-team group, which was also the 2008 OFC Nations Cup, playing home and away. The winner would play a home and away playoff with the fifth-place Asian nation for a World Cup berth.

Final positions (Second Round)

New Zealand advanced to the AFC-OFC playoff, against Bahrain, the 5th-placed team of AFC.

South America (CONMEBOL)

(10 teams competing for 4 or 5 berths; a playoff against CONCACAF determines which confederation gets the extra berth)

The CONMEBOL qualification process again features a league system (home and away matches) for a single group of 10 associations, with matches played from October 2007 to October 2009. The fixture list is identical to that used in the qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. To limit the amount of travel by European-based players to South America, CONMEBOL's schedule uses nine 'double match days' (with two sets of matches held within a few days of each other).The top 4 teams qualified for the World Cup finals; the 5th-place team advancing to a playoff against the 4th-place CONCACAF team.

Legend for Qualifying Countries
Countries that directly qualified for the 2010 World Cup
Country that advanced to the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL playoff

Final positions

Inter-confederation play-offs

There are two scheduled inter-confederation playoffs to determine the final two qualification spots to the finals. The ties themselves were not drawn, but were allocated by FIFA as:
  • AFC 5th place v OFC winner
  • CONCACAF 4th place v CONMEBOL 5th place

The draw for the order in which the matches will be played was held on 2 June 2009 during the FIFA Congress in Nassaumarker, the Bahamasmarker.

AFC 5th place v OFC winner

The winner of the OFC qualification tournament played the winner of the play-off between the two third-placed teams in the AFC qualification round four (considered to be the 5th placed team in the AFC). New Zealand qualified for the play-off by winning the OFC competition in September 2008. Bahrain qualified for the play-off by winning the AFC Fifth placed play-off in September 2009. New Zealand won the play-off and qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup on 14 November 2009.

CONCACAF 4th place v CONMEBOL 5th place

The fourth-place team in the CONCACAF qualifying fourth round (Costa Rica) played off against the fifth-place team in the CONMEBOL qualifying group (Uruguay). Uruguay won the play-off and qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup on 18 November 2009.


  2. EXCO unveils World Cup programme
  3. Intercontinental play-off dates confirmed

External links

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