The 2026 World Cup qualifying system for all continental confederations

The 2026 World Cup qualifying system for all continental confederations

Starting Thursday, the South American Confederation will spark the start of the World Cup qualifiers, scheduled for the 2026 finals in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with the participation of 48 teams for the first time in history.

According to what was approved by the International Football Association Board (FIFA) in 2017, the number of seats allocated to the six continental federations is as follows:

– AFC: 8.5 seats (with one team qualifying for the continental playoff)

– African Union: 9.5 seats (with one team qualifying for the continental playoff)

-Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF): 6.5 seats (with two teams qualifying for the continental playoff)

– CONMEBOL: 6.5 seats (with one team qualifying for the continental playoff)

– Oceania Confederation: 1.5 seats (with one team qualifying for the continental playoff)

– European Union: 16 seats

Here is the preliminary qualifier system according to the various continental federations


Joint qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Cup.

The first stage will start in October 2023, and it will include a series of 10 bilateral matches (home and away) between 20 Asian teams, according to which 10 teams will qualify for the second stage, which will take place between November 2023 and June 2024, and includes nine groups, each of which includes four teams, and the two-ranked teams qualify. The first and second from each group advance to the final stage of the Asian qualifiers.

Details of the confrontations were revealed to the 46 countries, according to the draw for the first and second qualifying stages, whose ceremonies were hosted by Kuala Lumpur.

As for the last stage of the qualifiers, it will take place between September 2024 and June 2025, and includes three groups, each of which includes six teams, where the first and second places from each group qualify for the 2026 World Cup directly, while the third and fourth places from each group compete in an Asian supplement.

The group stage competitions of the Asian playoff will take place between October and November 2025 in one location, where the six teams are divided into two groups of three teams. The first-place finishers in the two groups qualify directly for the World Cup, while the second-place finishers in each group qualify for one elimination match, the winner of which advances to the continental playoff qualifiers.

the African Union

The first stage of the qualifiers will take place between November 2023 and October 2025, where the teams were divided into nine groups, each containing six teams, and the top ranked team in each group qualifies directly to the World Cup, while the four best teams in second place advance to an African playoff, whose competitions will be held in November 2025 under a system. Two single semi-final matches in one location and one final match, the winner of which qualifies for the continental playoff.

CONCACAF Federation

The teams of Canada, Mexico and the United States of America automatically participate in the World Cup as the host countries.

As for the four lowest-ranked teams in the international ranking, each of them will play two home-and-away matches in March 2024, with the winner in each of these two matches qualifying for the second stage of the continental qualifiers, which will take place in June 2024 and June 2025.

The qualifiers include six groups, each comprising five teams, where the first and second place holders from each group qualify for the final stage, which takes place between September and November 2025. As for the final stage, it includes three groups, each of which includes four teams, and the leader of each group qualifies. To the World Cup directly, while the two best runners-up qualify for the continental play-off.

south america

The qualifying competitions take place in a league system, in which all teams (ten teams) face each other in two home-and-away matches, and their competitions conclude in September 2025. The six best teams reach the World Cup directly, while the seventh-placed team enters the continental play-off.

It is noteworthy that the South American Confederation follows a qualifying system by the league system since the 1998 World Cup qualifiers.


The preliminary qualifiers in Oceania include three stages, the first taking place in one location in September 2024 and consisting of two playoff matches between the four lowest-ranked continental teams, and the two winners qualify for a decisive confrontation in which the victor will advance to the second stage.

The eight teams in the second stage will be divided into two groups, each comprising four teams, and will compete according to the league system in October and November 2024. A decisive match that determines the qualifier for the World Cup directly, while the loser is in the continental play-off.


The group stage consists of 12 groups of five or four teams competing in a two-legged league system between March 2025 and November 2025. The 12 group winners qualify directly for the World Cup. As for the second-placed teams, in addition to the four best-ranked teams from the European Nations League 2024-2025, which finished the World Cup competitions outside the first and second places, they will enter a European play-off that will take place in March 2026. The 16 teams are divided into four groups, each of which represents a component qualification path. It consists of four teams, where each team in each track plays one semi-final match, and the two winners from the two semi-final matches for each track qualify for one decisive match that takes place in the same international matches window, and the four winning teams in each track qualify for the 2026 World Cup.


France Football magazine : Messi is the most decorated List of winners of the Ballon d’Or since its inception

Wednesday, the shortlist of players nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award, as Lionel Messi is expected to top the list of candidates.

According to the official account of the famous magazine on the “X” platform, the final list for the Golden Ball award for men will include 3 candidates, and 2 for women.

The nominations are in favor of Messi, who joined Inter Miami this summer, to enhance his record in the number of times winning the Golden Ball award and raise his score to 8, thanks to his leadership of the “Tango” team to win the 2022 World Cup.

However, it is expected that the competition for the award will intensify between Messi and the Norwegian international striker Erling Haaland, who crowned Manchester City with a historic triple last season, and also topped the list of the best scorers in the English Premier League.

The former Real Madrid striker, French Karim Benzema, who joined the Saudi Al-Ittihad club this summer, was the last to be crowned with the Golden Ball, as he won it last year for the first time in his career.

France Football awarded the Ballon d’Or to the best European player in Europe between 1956 and 1994, then to the best player in Europe between 1995 and 2006, and to the best player in the world starting in 2007.

Before announcing, later today, Wednesday, the shortlist of candidates to win the Ballon d’Or for the year 2023, we review in this monitoring the names of the winners of the award since its establishment in 1956:

2022: French Karim Benzema

2021: Argentine Lionel Messi

2020: The award was not awarded due to the spread of the Corona virus

2019: Argentine Lionel Messi

2018: Croatian Luka Modric

2017: Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo

2016: Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo

2015: Argentine Lionel Messi

2014: Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo

2013: Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo

2012: Argentine Lionel Messi

2011: Argentine Lionel Messi

2010: Argentine Lionel Messi

2009: Argentine Lionel Messi

2008: Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo

2007: Brazilian Ricardo Kaka

2006: Italian Fabio Cannavaro

2005: Brazilian Ronaldinho

2004: Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko

2003: Czech Pavel Nedved

2002: Brazilian Ronaldo

2001: Englishman Michael Owen

2000: Portuguese Luis Figo

1999: Brazilian Rivaldo

1998: Frenchman Zinedine Zidane

1997: Brazilian Ronaldo

1996: German Matthias Sammer

1995: Liberian George Weah

1994: Bulgarian Hristo Stoichkov

1993: Italian Roberto Baggio

1992: Dutchman Marco van Basten

1991: Frenchman Jean-Pierre Papin

1990: German Lothar Matthäus

1989: Dutchman Marco van Basten

1988: Dutchman Marco van Basten

1987: Dutchman Ruud Gullit

1986: Soviet Igor Belanov

1985: Frenchman Michel Platini

1984: Frenchman Michel Platini

1983: Frenchman Michel Platini

1982: Italian Paolo Rossi

1981: German Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

1980: German Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

1979: Englishman Kevin Keegan

1978: Englishman Kevin Keegan

1977: Danish Allan Simonsen

1976: German Franz Beckenbauer

1975: Soviet Oleg Blokhin

1974: Dutchman Johan Cruyff

1973: Dutchman Johan Cruyff

1972: German Franz Beckenbauer

1971: Dutchman Johan Cruyff

1970: German Gerd Müller

1969: Italian Gianni Rivera

1968: Northern Irishman George Best

1967: Hungarian Florian Albert

1966: Englishman Bobby Charlton

1965: Portuguese Eusebio

1964: Scottish Dennis Law

1963: Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin

1962: Czechoslovakian Józef Masopust

1961: Italian Omar Sivori

1960: Spaniard Luis Soares

1959: Spain’s Alfredo Di Stefano

1958: Frenchman Raymond Cuba

1957: Spanish Alfredo Di Stefano

1956: England’s Stanley Matthews.