2006 FIFA World Cup™
32 nations have booked a place in the finals. The qualifying nations are:
|World Cup 2006|
|Costa Rica||Croatia||Czech Republic||Ecuador|
|Portugal||Saudi Arabia||Serbia & Montenegro||Spain|
|Trinidad & Tobago||Tunisia||Ukraine||United States|
Once again there will be 32 teams in the finals - here's how qualification was achieved.
The 51 European nations - Germany qualified as hosts - were split into eight groups.
The winners of each group qualified automatically for the finals, along with the best two second placed teams. The remaining six runners-up faced a two-legged play-off.
• The three play-offs were played on November 12 and 16.
The ten South American countries entered qualifying on a normal league basis, playing each other home and away over two years.
The top four nations qualified automatically for the finals. Uruguay face a two-legged play-off with Australia in order to make it to Germany.
2003: Sept 6/7 | Sept 9/10 | Nov 15/16 | Nov 18/19
2004: Mar 30/31 | June 1/2 | June 5/6 | September 4/5 | October 9/10 | October 12-14 | November 17
2005: March 26/27 | March 29/30 | June 4/5 | June 7/8 | September 3/4 | October 8/9 | October 12
There were three automatic places and one play-off place available.
As usual, Concacaf came up with a convoluted and complicated qualifying process. Teams reached the semi-final stage by competing in knockout rounds:
The semi-final stage was completed in November 2004, with 12 nations in three groups of four. The top two teams advanced.
The final stage featured one group, with the top three teams going to Germany 2006. The fourth place team, Trinidad & Tobago, face a play-off place against a nation from Asia, Bahrain.
Click here for the full fixture list for the final stage of qualifying
• Final Stage Results: February 9 | March 26 | March 27 | March 30 | June 4 | June 8 | August 17 | September 3 | September 7 | October 8 | October 12
African qualifying began in October 2003, when 42 nations faced a two-legged qualifying tie. The winners joined Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia in the second round.
The remaining nations were drawn into five groups of six teams. The winners of these five groups qualified for the finals.
The six winners from the premlininary round, plus the highest FIFA-ranked loser, advanced to the First Round of the qualifying competition, involving 32-teams. The nations were drawn into eight groups of four teams.
The winners of each group moved on to the Final Stage, whereby the eight remaining nations are drawn into two groups of four. The top two teams in each group advanced while the third placed sides faced a play-off. The winner of that match, Bahrain, is to play a Concacaf side, Trinidad & Tobago, for a spot in the finals.
• Asian Play-off: Uzbekistan v Bahrain
The first match was made void due to a technical error by the referee. Uzbekistan won the first match, but the rematch finished 1-1 and Bahrain triumphed.
The First Round took place in May 2004, when the ten minor nations were split into two groups of five. The top two countries from each group advanced to the Second Round.
Those four nations joined Australia and New Zealand in one group. The overall winner of this final group, Australia, faced a play-off against the runner up, Solomon Islands, for the right to enter a play-off with the fifth-placed South American nation. Australia cruised through to the final play-off.