2026 World Cup | Qualifiers Schedule Format

World Cup 2026 Schedule Qualification
Pro Shots / SIPA USA

A total of 210 countries that are members of the world football association, FIFA, will compete to qualify for the final round of the 2026 World Cup. There are 48 tickets to be earned. The qualification stage is divided into six zones: CONCACAF (North America, Central America, and the Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), UEFA (Europe), AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa) and OFC (Oceania). The format of the qualification system may vary from zone to zone. The qualification period for the 2026 World Cup runs from 2023 to 2025. The exact dates for each continental zone are pending.

The distribution of the 48 tickets for the qualifying countries is as follows: Europe is entitled to 16 tickets; Africa can send 9 countries to the World Cup; Asia has 8 representatives; South America gets 6 tickets; North America, Central America and the Caribbean also get 6 tickets; and Oceania has one country that is allowed to compete for the soccer world cup title in the summer of 2026. That makes a total of 46. The other 2 countries qualify through a mini tournament in November 2025.

2026 World Cup qualifying format | last tickets

Six countries will participate in this mini-event for the last 2 (of the 48) tickets to earn, but none will be from the European zone, UEFA. The other five zones will each send one country, while the continent of North America, as host, may also send the sixth country to compete for the final two tickets to the World Cup.

Will the host countries have to qualify?

It is as yet unknown whether the host countries – the United States, Canada and Mexico – will also have to play qualification matches or whether they will be automatically qualified.

Draw

The draw for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers is scheduled for July 2023. See also: Schedule qualifiers 2026 FIFA World Cup.

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