The FIFA World Cup: How National Football Teams Qualify

By Glory O March 18, 2024

The FIFA World Cup unites nations from around the globe in a celebration of the beautiful game. Organized by FIFA, football’s governing body, this tournament traces its roots back to 1930 when it debuted in Uruguay. Not even the tumult of World War II could dampen its spirit, with only two cancellations in its storied history.

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Host Nations and Format Evolution

In 2022, the World Cup made history by descending upon the Middle East for the first time, hosted by Qatar. This edition marked the swansong of the 32-team format, as the 2026 tournament is poised for expansion to 48 teams. Host countries secure automatic berths in the tournament, a well-deserved privilege considering the monumental efforts and investments poured into organizing the event.

Confederations: The Road to Qualification

Before the spectacle of the World Cup unfolds, the journey begins within the confederations, continental governing bodies overseeing football in their respective regions. With six confederations spanning the globe, each boasting its own unique flavor of football, the stage is set for a diverse and captivating tournament.


Qualifying for the World Cup is a grueling endeavor, often spanning several years and involving intense competition within each confederation. With FIFA allocating spots to each confederation based on strength, the journey to qualification is as diverse as the teams themselves.

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Embracing the Underdogs

While powerhouses often dominate headlines, the World Cup is also a stage for underdogs to shine. From the unexpected rise of Vietnam to the historic qualifications of North Korea in 1966 and 2010 and New Zealand’s surprising journey in 2010, the tournament is replete with tales of triumph against the odds.


The FIFA World Cup transcends borders, cultures, and languages, uniting the world in a shared passion for football. As the tournament continues to evolve, one thing remains constant: the thrill of seeing nations compete on the grandest stage of them all in pursuit of footballing glory.