No fewer than 204 national teams have entered the preliminary competition for the 19th FIFA World Cup™, set to take place in South Africa in 2010.
This record number includes the host country, South Africa, and Montenegro, which will likely become the 208th FIFA member association next May, subject to approval by the FIFA Congress.
Only the football associations of the Philippines, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam and Laos did not register to take part in FIFA’s flagship competition.
The previous record was set by the preliminary competition for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, in which 199 teams entered and 193 teams participated. For the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, 198 teams were registered and 194 played the preliminary competition.
The first qualifying matches will take place in August 2007. The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) will use the South Pacific Games to be held from 25 August to 8 September of this year as a preliminary qualifying tournament for the Oceania region.
While South Africa qualify automatically as hosts, the other 31 places in the final competition of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ (11 June-11 July 2010) have been allocated as follows:
- AFC (Asia): 4.5*
- CAF (Africa): 5
- CONCACAF (North, Central America and the Caribbean): 3.5**
- CONMEBOL (South America): 4.5**
- OFC (Oceania): 0.5*
- UEFA (Europe): 13
*AFC and OFC to compete for one berth
**CONCACAF and CONMEBOL to compete for one berth
More detailed facts and figures on the FIFA World Cup™ preliminary competitions can be found on FIFA.com: