1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
Tournament details
Dates10 March 1996 – 29 November 1997
Teams174 (from 6 confederations)
Tournament statistics
Matches played643
Goals scored1,922 (2.99 per match)
Top scorer(s)Iran Karim Bagheri
(19 goals)
1994
2002

The 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification competition was a series of tournaments organised by the six FIFA confederations. Each confederation — the AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), CONCACAF (North, Central America and Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania), and UEFA (Europe) — was allocated a certain number of the 32 places at the tournament. A total of 174 teams entered the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 32 spots in the final tournament. The 1998 FIFA World Cup featured 32 teams, with two places reserved for France and Brazil as host nation and defending champions, respectively. The remaining 30 places were determined by a qualification process, in which the other 174 teams, from the six FIFA confederations, competed.

Qualified teams

.mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Country qualified for World Cup   Country failed to qualify   Country did not enter World Cup   Country not a FIFA member
  Country qualified for World Cup
  Country failed to qualify
  Country did not enter World Cup
  Country not a FIFA member
Team Method of
qualification
Date of
qualification
Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Consecutive
finals
appearances
Previous best
performance
FIFA ranking
at start of event[1]
 France Host 2 July 1992 10th 1986 1 Third place (1958, 1986) 18
 Brazil 1994 FIFA World Cup Winners 17 July 1994 16th 1994 16 Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994) 1
 Nigeria CAF Final Round Group 1 Winners 7 June 1997 2nd 1994 2 Round of 16 (1994) 74
 Tunisia CAF Final Round Group 2 Winners 8 June 1997 2nd 1978 1 Group stage (1978) 21
 Morocco CAF Final Round Group 5 Winners 8 June 1997 4th 1994 2 Round of 16 (1986) 13
 South Africa CAF Final Round Group 3 Winners 16 August 1997 1st 1 24
 Cameroon CAF Final Round Group 4 Winners 17 August 1997 4th 1994 3 Quarter-finals (1990) 49
 Romania UEFA Group 8 Winners 18 August 1997 7th 1994 3 Quarter-finals (1994) 22
 Norway UEFA Group 3 Winners 6 September 1997 3rd 1994 2 Group stage (1938, 1994) 7
 Bulgaria UEFA Group 5 Winners 10 September 1997 7th 1994 2 Fourth place (1994) 35
 Argentina CONMEBOL Winners 10 September 1997 12th 1994 7 Winners (1978, 1986) 6
 Colombia CONMEBOL 3rd Place 10 September 1997 4th 1994 3 Round of 16 (1990) 10
 Paraguay CONMEBOL 2nd Place 10 September 1997 5th 1986 1 Round of 16 (1986) 29
 Denmark UEFA Group 1 Winners 11 October 1997 2nd 1986 1 Round of 16 (1986) 27
 England UEFA Group 2 Winners 11 October 1997 10th 1990 1 Winners (1966) 5
 Austria UEFA Group 4 Winners 11 October 1997 7th 1990 1 Third place (1954) 31
 Spain UEFA Group 6 Winners 11 October 1997 10th 1994 6 Fourth place (1950) 15
 Netherlands UEFA Group 7 Winners 11 October 1997 7th 1994 3 Runners-up (1974, 1978) 25
 Germany UEFA Group 9 Winners 11 October 1997 14th 1994 12 Winners (1954, 1974, 1990) 2
 Scotland UEFA Group 4 Runners-up 11 October 1997 8th 1990 1 Group stage (1954, 1958, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990) 41
 Mexico CONCACAF Fourth Round Winners 12 October 1997 11th 1994 2 Quarter-finals (1970, 1986) 4
 South Korea AFC Final Round Group B Winners 18 October 1997 5th 1994 4 Group stage (1954, 1986, 1990, 1994) 20
 United States CONCACAF Fourth Round 2nd Place 9 November 1997 6th 1994 3 Third place (1930) 11
 Saudi Arabia AFC Final Round Group A Winners 12 November 1997 2nd 1994 2 Round of 16 (1994) 34
 Croatia UEFA play-off Winners 15 November 1997 1st 1 19
 Italy UEFA play-off Winners 15 November 1997 14th 1994 10 Winners (1934, 1938, 1982) 14
 Belgium UEFA play-off Winners 15 November 1997 10th 1994 5 Fourth place (1986) 36
 FR Yugoslavia UEFA play-off Winners 15 November 1997 9th 1990 1 Fourth place (1930, 1962) 8
 Japan AFC play-off Winners 16 November 1997 1st 1 12
 Jamaica CONCACAF Fourth Round 3rd Place 16 November 1997 1st 1 30
 Chile CONMEBOL 4th Place 16 November 1997 7th 1982 1 Third place (1962) 9
 Iran AFC v OFC play-off Winners 29 November 1997 2nd 1978 1 Group stage (1978) 42

Qualification process

The distribution by confederation for the 1998 FIFA World Cup was:

Confederation qualification

AFC

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)

A total of 36 teams entered the competition. The Asian zone was allocated 3.5 places (out of 32) in the final tournament.

There were three rounds of play:

Legend
Countries that qualified for the 1998 World Cup
Countries that advanced to the Play-off for third place

Final positions (Final Round)

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) § Final round

Group A Group B
Team Pld Pts
 Saudi Arabia 8 14
 Iran 8 12
 China 8 11
 Qatar 8 10
 Kuwait 8 8
Team Pld Pts
 South Korea 8 19
 Japan 8 13
 United Arab Emirates 8 9
 Uzbekistan 8 6
 Kazakhstan 8 6

Play-off for 3rd place

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) § Play-off

Team 1 Score Team 2
 Iran 2–3 (a.e.t.) Japan 

CAF

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (CAF)

A total of 38 CAF teams entered the competition. However, Mali and Niger both withdrew before the draw was made. The African Zone was allocated five places (out of 32) in the final tournament.

There would be two rounds of play:

Legend
Countries that qualified for the 1998 World Cup

Final positions (Final Round)

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (CAF) § Final round

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3
Team Pld Pts
 Nigeria 6 13
 Guinea 6 12
 Kenya 6 10
 Burkina Faso 6 0
Team Pld Pts
 Tunisia 6 16
 Egypt 6 10
 Liberia 6 4
 Namibia 6 4
Team Pld Pts
 South Africa 6 13
 Congo 6 10
 Zambia 6 8
 DR Congo 6 2
Group 4 Group 5
Team Pld Pts
 Cameroon 6 14
 Angola 6 10
 Zimbabwe 6 4
 Togo 6 4
Team Pld Pts
 Morocco 6 16
 Sierra Leone 5 7
 Ghana 6 6
 Gabon 5 1

CONCACAF

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONCACAF)

John Harkes playing for the United States in a fourth round qualifying match against Mexico on April 20, 1997
John Harkes playing for the United States in a fourth round qualifying match against Mexico on April 20, 1997

A total of 30 CONCACAF teams entered the competition. Mexico, the US, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Canada, the six highest-ranked teams according to FIFA, received byes and advanced to the third round directly. The remaining 24 teams were divided into two zones, based on geographical locations, as follows:

In the third round, the 12 teams were divided into three groups of four teams each. They played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners and runners-up would advance to the final round.

In the final round, the six teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The top three teams would qualify.

Legend
Countries that qualified for the 1998 World Cup

Final positions (Fourth Round)

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fourth Round

Team Pld Pts
 Mexico 10 18
 United States 10 17
 Jamaica 10 14
 Costa Rica 10 12
 El Salvador 10 10
 Canada 10 6

CONMEBOL

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONMEBOL)

A total of 10 CONMEBOL teams entered the competition. The South American zone was allocated 5 places (out of 32) in the final tournament. Brazil, the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 4 spots open for competition between 9 teams.

The rules were very simple. The 9 teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis. The top 4 teams would qualify.

Legend
Countries that qualified for the 1998 World Cup

Final positions

Team Pld Pts
 Argentina 16 30
 Paraguay 16 29
 Colombia 16 28
 Chile 16 25
 Peru 16 25
 Ecuador 16 21
 Uruguay 16 21
 Bolivia 16 17
 Venezuela 16 3

OFC

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (OFC)

A total of 10 teams entered the competition. The Oceanian zone was allocated 0.5 places (out of 32) in the final tournament.

There were three rounds of play:

Final positions (Third Round)

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification – OFC Third Round

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
New Zealand  0–5  Australia 0–3 0–2

UEFA

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)

A total of 50 UEFA teams entered the competition. The European zone was allocated 15 places (out of 32) in the final tournament. France, the hosts, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition between 49 teams.

The 49 teams were divided into nine groups, four groups of six teams and five groups of five teams. The teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners would qualify. The runners-up would be ranked according to their records against the 1st, 3rd and 4th-placed team in their groups, and the team with the best record would also qualify. The remaining runners-up would advance to the UEFA Play-offs.

In the play-offs, the 8 teams were paired up to play knockout matches on a home-and-away basis. The winners would qualify.

Legend
Countries that qualified for the 1998 World Cup
Countries that advanced to the Play-offs

Final positions (First Round)

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) § First round

Play-offs

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA play-off)

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Croatia  3–1  Ukraine 2–0 1–1
Russia  1–2  Italy 1–1 0–1
Republic of Ireland  2–3  Belgium 1–1 1–2
Hungary  1–12  FR Yugoslavia 1–7 0–5

Inter-confederation play-offs: AFC v OFC

Main article: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC–OFC play-off)

It was a two-legged home-and-away tie between the winners of the Oceania qualifying tournament, Australia, and the losing team in the AFC play-off from the Asian qualifying tournament, Iran. The games were played on 22 and 29 November 1997 in Tehran and Melbourne respectively. Australia was hoping to play in the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1974 and Iran in 1978. The second game is known in Iran as the Saga of Melbourne.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Iran  (a) 3–3  Australia 1–1 2–2

Top goalscorers

19 goals
14 goals
12 goals
11 goals
6 goals

References

  1. ^ "FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking (20 May 1998)". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 27 January 2012. Archived from the original on February 22, 2016.