List of men's national association football teams

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This is a list of the men's national association football teams in the world. There are more nations with football teams than for any other sport, [1] with teams representing 191 of the 193 UN member states, as well as several dependent territories, sub-national entities, and states who are not members of the United Nations. This list divides teams into two main groups:

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Sport Forms of competitive activity, usually physical

Sport includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked with maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation, and being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. It was established after World War II, with the aim of preventing future wars, and succeeded the ineffective League of Nations. Its headquarters, which are subject to extraterritoriality, are in Manhattan, New York City, and it has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and the Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.


FIFA International governing body of association football

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association is an organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and efootball. FIFA is responsible for the organization of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women's World Cup which commenced in 1991.

This list excludes other teams, which generally play outside FIFA's recognition. Excluded teams include those who represent ethnic groups, sub-national entities and dependent territories other than those recognized by FIFA or its confederations, competitors at the Island Games, unrecognized states, separatist movements, and pseudo- or micro-nations.

Ethnic group Socially defined category of people who identify with each other

An ethnic group, or an ethnicity, is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestry, language, history, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is usually an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art or physical appearance.

Football has been a regular event since 1989 at the Island Games, the biennial multi-sports event for island nations, territories and dependencies. A 5-a-side competition for under-16s was held at the inaugural event on the Isle of Man, and the success this minor competition brought to the games meant senior men's football was included on the itinerary for the first time in the Faroe Islands, in 1989. Women's football was included on the games' schedule for the first time in 2001.

Micronation Small, unrecognized country

A micronation, sometimes referred to as a model country or new country project, is an entity that claims to be an independent nation or state but is not recognized by world governments or major international organizations. This contrasts with microstates, which are very small but recognized countries such as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. They are also distinct from imaginary countries and from other kinds of social groups by expressing a formal and persistent, even if unrecognized, claim of sovereignty over some physical territory. Micronations are also distinct from true secessionist movements; micronations' activities are almost always trivial enough to be ignored rather than challenged by the established nations whose territory they claim. Several micronations have issued coins, flags, postage stamps, passports, medals, and other items. These items are rarely accepted outside their own community but may be sold as novelties to help raise money or collected by enthusiasts.

Members of FIFA affiliated confederations

Map of the World with the six confederations:
Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)
Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)
Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol (CONMEBOL)
Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)
Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) World Map FIFA.svg
Map of the World with the six confederations:

This section lists the current:

FIFA members are eligible to enter the FIFA World Cup and matches between them are recognized as official international matches. Based on their match results over the previous four-year period, the FIFA World Rankings, published monthly by FIFA, compare the relative strengths of the national teams.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

FIFA World Rankings world ranking list

The FIFA World Ranking is a ranking system for men's national teams in association football, currently led by Belgium. The teams of the member nations of FIFA, football's world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest. The rankings were introduced in December 1992, and eight teams have held the top position, of which Brazil have spent the longest ranked first.

Some national teams who are members of a confederation but not FIFA members compete in confederation-level and subregional tournaments. These teams, however, are not allowed to participate in the World Cup.

The six confederations are:

Asian Football Confederation governing body of association football in Asia

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football in Asia and Australia. It has 47 member countries, mostly located on the Asian and Australian continent, but excludes the transcontinental countries with territory in both Europe and Asia – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkey – which are instead members of UEFA. Three other states located geographically along the western fringe of Asia – Cyprus, Armenia and Israel – are also UEFA members. On the other hand, Australia, formerly in the OFC, joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, and the Oceanian island of Guam, a territory of the United States, is also a member of AFC, in addition to Northern Mariana Islands, one of the Two Commonwealths of the United States. Hong Kong and Macau, although not independent countries, are also members of the AFC.

Confederation of African Football governing body of association football in Africa

The Confederation of African Football or CAF is the administrative and controlling body for African association football.

CONCACAF International sport governing body

The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football is the continental governing body for association football in North America, which includes Central America and the Caribbean region. Three geographically South American entities — the independent nations of Guyana and Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana — are also members. CONCACAF's primary functions are to organize competitions for national teams and clubs, and to conduct World Cup and Women's World Cup qualifying tournaments.

FIFA runs the World Cup as a tournament for national teams to find the world champion. Each confederation also runs its own championship to find the best team from among its members:

While not a confederation in itself, the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) coordinates football activities between Arabic-speaking countries. All 22 national governing bodies that form UAFA are also members of both FIFA and either the AFC or CAF. National teams from UAFA member countries are noted in the list below.

AFC (Asia)

Due to the geographical size of Asia, the AFC is subdivided into five sub-federations:

CAF (Africa)

Due to the geographical size of Africa, CAF is divided into five regional federations:

  • 1: National governing body is a member of UAFA
  • 2: Official name used by FIFA for Democratic Republic of the Congo; official name used by CAF is RD Congo
  • 3: National governing body is an associate member of CAF, but not a FIFA member
  • 4: National governing body is a member of ConIFA

CONCACAF (North America, Central America, and the Caribbean)

The CONCACAF federation is divided into three regional federations that have responsibility for part of the region's geographical area:

  • 1: National governing body is a full member of CONCACAF but not a FIFA member
  • 2: Official name used by FIFA and CONCACAF for United States

CONMEBOL (South America)

OFC (Oceania)

  • 1: National governing body is an associate member of the OFC, but not a FIFA member
  • 2: National governing body is a member of ConIFA
  • 3: National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1964-1966)

UEFA (Europe)

  • 1: National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1954–1974); joined UEFA in 1994
  • 2: National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1993–2002)

National teams not affiliated to FIFA confederations

The national football teams included in this section are not members of FIFA, or of any of its affiliated continental confederations. The teams are not eligible to enter the FIFA World Cup or any continental confederation championships. FIFA's statutes do not allow member teams to compete against these sides without FIFA's prior permission. [3]

This section lists:

Unaffiliated United Nations states

There are seven United Nations member and observer states which are not members of FIFA or any of its affiliated continental confederations. Five of them, however, have fielded national teams in unofficial friendlies, Olympic-level tournaments (such as the Pacific Games or Micronesian Games), or in tournaments held outside the auspices of FIFA. These teams are listed below.

1: National governing body is a member of ConIFA
2: The United Kingdom national team has only played unofficial friendly matches under the name "Great Britain". Otherwise, the United Kingdom is represented in FIFA- and UEFA-organized football by the teams of its constituent countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (these teams are listed in the UEFA subsection above). See also Great Britain Olympic football team and UK national football teams.

Teams representing Nauru appear to have been fielded in local friendly matches on at least two occasions, but there is no organised football on Nauru and no Nauru national team. [4] There is no record of any team ever claiming to have represented the Marshall Islands. [5]

Unaffiliated non-UN states

Three states with limited international recognition, de facto sovereign states, are full members of FIFA and are listed above: the Republic of China (as Chinese Taipei) and Palestine, which are members of FIFA and the AFC; Kosovo, which is a member of FIFA and UEFA.

None of the remaining de facto sovereign or partially recognized states are members of FIFA or any of its affiliated continental confederations. Despite this, all seven of these states have fielded national teams in non-FIFA football matches or unofficial friendlies: [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

1: ConIFA currently designates this team by its former name, Nagorno-Karabakh. [11]
2: In addition to playing in non-FIFA football tournaments and in unofficial matches against FIFA-affiliated nations, Northern Cyprus participated in the 1980 Islamic Games football competition.
3: The Transnistria national team, while a full member of ConIFA, [12] has only played against club teams so far.

The national associations representing all seven of these teams are members of ConIFA, an organization for teams representing unrecognized states, subnational regions, and stateless minorities. [13]


FIFA's entry criteria state that:

Any association which is responsible for organising and supervising football in all of its forms in its country may become a member of FIFA.

FIFA, FIFA Statutes April 2016

The statutes further define 'country' as "an independent state recognized by the international community". [14] The main condition for joining FIFA is thus general international recognition as a nation state, which is usually associated with membership of the UN. [15] However, this rule is not applied retroactively, [16] and 26 of FIFA's members are not internationally recognised sovereign nations. [note 3]

Non-sovereign associations may still join FIFA or its affiliated confederations in specific circumstances. FIFA have offered exceptions for associations representing a dependency where the application apply for membership is authorised by the association in its parent state. [16] [17] The New Caledonia team was admitted under this regulation in 2004 on the grounds of the distance of New Caledonia from its 'parent' nation, France. [18] The applications for membership by Gibraltar, a territory of the UK and Kosovo, a sovereign state with limited international recognition, were both initially rejected by FIFA in line with the above policy. [19] [20] However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected this decision [19] and both teams were accepted in May 2016. [21]

A variety of other national, separatist, sub-national, pseudo-national, and ethnic teams have formed international football organizations outside FIFA's jurisdiction, and play in international tournaments against each other. [18] The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA), was founded with the aim of regularising non-FIFA international football, by having a two-year international tournament cycle, with the ConIFA World Football Cup in even numbered years, and continental tournaments in odd-numbered years. [22] This developed the work of the now-defunct N.F.-Board (Nouvelle Fédération-Board), founded in 2001. [23] ConIFA aims to help unrecognised national teams gain recognition, but also to provide a platform for representative teams of regions or diasporas, which do not have a place in a system of international football based on nation-states. [24] In some cases, participation in non-FIFA football has been a first step for teams who later sought (and in some cases, achieved) the right to participate in matches sanctioned by FIFA or one of its affiliated continental confederations. For example, both Kosovo and Gibraltar played in non-FIFA football tournaments before being recognized by FIFA and UEFA.

Former national football teams

These national teams no longer exist due to the dissolution of the nation or territory that they represented. Only national teams that were once members of FIFA are listed below.

Preceding teamSuccessor team(s)
(inherited position/results)
Other successor team(s)Notes
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic [25] Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Represented Czechoslovakia until its dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. [26] Competed as Representation of Czechs and Slovaks for the remainder of their 1994 World Cup qualifying games. [27]
Flag of Saar (1947-1956).svg  Saar Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany Represented the Saarland Protectorate from 1950 to 1956 before its union with the Federal Republic of Germany. [28]
Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany
(officially Germany FR)
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Represented West Germany between 1950 and 1990, before reunification with East Germany. [29]
Flag of East Germany.svg  East Germany
(officially Germany DR)
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Represented East Germany between 1952 and 1990, before reunification with West Germany. [29]
Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland Represented Ireland from 1882. From 1922, when the Irish Free State (later Republic of Ireland) left the United Kingdom, until 1953, it continued to pick players from across the Island of Ireland, before becoming restricted to players solely from Northern Ireland under pressure from FIFA. [30]
Flag of Malaya.svg  Malaya Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia Represented the Federation of Malaya from 1953 until its union with Sarawak, North Borneo and Singapore to form Malaysia in 1963. Singapore, which gained independence in 1965, retained its preexisting national team.
Flag of Tanganyika (1961-1964).svg  Tanganyika Flag of Tanzania.svg  Tanzania Represented Tanganyika until its union with Zanzibar as Tanzania in 1964. Zanzibar is an associate member of CAF and so is not a member of FIFA.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Mandatory Palestine Flag of Israel.svg  Israel Flag of Palestine.svg  Palestine Represented the British Mandate for Palestine from 1934 until the formation of the State of Israel in 1948. A team representing the Palestinian territories was formed in 1953 and was admitted into FIFA in 1998.
Flag of South Vietnam.svg  South Vietnam
(officially Vietnam)
Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam Represented South Vietnam from 1949 until 1975. North and South Vietnam maintained separate football teams from 1954 to 1975. The current Vietnam national football team is considered a successor of the South Vietnam team as North Vietnam was not a FIFA member.
Flag of North Yemen.svg  North Yemen
(officially Yemen AR)
Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen Represented North Yemen from 1965 until its union with South Yemen in 1990.
Flag of South Yemen.svg  South Yemen
(officially Yemen PDR)
Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen Represented South Yemen from 1965 until its union with North Yemen in 1990.
Flag of the United Arab Republic.svg  United Arab Republic Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt Flag of Syria.svg  Syria Represented the United Arab Republic from 1958 to 1961 until the secession of Syria. Was considered a continuation of the previous Egypt national football team, which became its successor team. The team continued to be known as the United Arab Republic until 1970.
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union Flag of the CIS (UEFA Euro 1992).svg  CIS Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania
Represented the Soviet Union from 1940 until its dissolution in 1991. This was considered a continuation of the team that had previously represented the Russian Empire. Teams representing Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had all been active independently prior to their incorporation into the Soviet Union in 1940.
Flag of the CIS (UEFA Euro 1992).svg  CIS Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan
Flag of Belarus (1918, 1991-1995).svg  Belarus
Flag of Georgia (1990-2004).svg  Georgia
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova
Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan
Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan
Represented the Commonwealth of Independent States and Georgia from January 1992 until the end of the Euro 1992 tournament, in order to take the Soviet Union's place in that competition.
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia Flag of Yugoslavia (1992-2003).svg Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998).svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia
Represented Yugoslavia between 1920 and 1992, before the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonia and Slovenia
Flag of Yugoslavia (1992-2003).svg  Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(later renamed Serbia and Montenegro)
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro
Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo
Represented the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, known as Serbia and Montenegro after 2003, from 1992 until its dissolution into Serbia and Montenegro in 2006. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and its national team was accepted into UEFA and FIFA in 2016.
Flag of the Netherlands Antilles.svg  Netherlands Antilles Flag of Curacao.svg  Curaçao Flag of Aruba.svg  Aruba
Flag of Bonaire.svg  Bonaire
Flag of Sint Maarten.svg  Sint Maarten
Aruba became a separate nation in 1986 and was recognized by FIFA in 1988. The former team represented the Netherlands Antilles until the dissolution of the country in 2010. Formerly known as "Curaçao", this name was restored in March 2011 when the new constituent country of Curaçao took the Netherlands Antilles' place in FIFA and CONCACAF. The teams representing Bonaire and Sint Maarten are full members of CONCACAF, but not of FIFA.

Some historically short-lived states and dependent territories, for example, Manchukuo also had their own football teams.

New names

In addition to the above, other nations have been renamed:

  1. Still commonly called Ivory Coast in English-speaking countries
  2. Still commonly called Swaziland in English-speaking countries

See also


  1. 1 2 Additionally 22 nations in Africa and Asia belong to the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) in addition to their respective regional confederations.
  2. Guyana and Suriname are independent nations, and French Guiana is an overseas department of France
  3. The FIFA-affiliated football teams that belong to non-UN members are:

Related Research Articles

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The AFC Asian Cup is an international association football tournament run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It is the second oldest continental football championship in the world after Copa América. The winning team becomes the champion of Asia and until 2015 qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Oceania Football Confederation body for association football in Oceania

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) is one of the six continental confederations of international association football, consisting of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, and other Pacific Island countries. It promotes the game in Oceania and allows the member nations to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

Football Federation Australia sports governing body

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Israel Football Association association football governing body of Israel

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Djiboutian Football Federation

The Djiboutian Football Federation is the governing body of association football in Djibouti. It was founded in 1979, and affiliated to FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 1994, and has been a member of the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) since 1998. The Federation oversees the Djibouti Premier League and the national team.

Chinese Taipei Football Association

Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) is the governing body for football in the Republic of China. Its official name in Chinese is the Football Association of the Republic of China, but it is billed as the "Chinese Taipei Football Association" abroad and uses the English initials on its badge.

FIFA is the international governing body of association football, charged with overseeing football globally and with running international representative matches. However, some international football takes place outside its ratification. This often consists of matches involving sub-national entities such as islands, colonies or autonomous regions. Representative matches also occur involving states with limited international recognition who are unable to qualify for FIFA membership. There are also a limited number of states whose representative teams are not affiliated to FIFA. Historically, a number of competitions occurred outside FIFA's auspices.

Union of Arab Football Associations

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Australia national futsal team national sports team

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Sahrawi Football Federation

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Badakhshan national football team national association football team

The Badakshshan national football team is a national side that represents Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan in association football. The team is controlled by the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region Football Federation and Tajikistan Football Federation, the governing body for all football in GBAO. Badakhshan is not a member of the FIFA or the AFC, and does not participate in any of their international tournaments.


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