A total of 99 teams entered the 1974 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 16 spots in the final tournament. West Germany, as the hosts, and Brazil, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition.
The 16 spots available in the 1974 World Cup would be distributed among the continental zones as follows:
A total of 90 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 226 qualifying matches were played, and 620 goals were scored (an average of 2.74 per match).
To see the dates and results of the qualification rounds for each continental zone, click on the following articles:
The teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis. The winner would qualify.
The second leg was scratched as the Soviet Union were disqualified after they refused to travel to Santiago for the return leg due to the recent Chilean coup d'état and the executions of left-wing prisoners in the Santiago stadium. The match did "go ahead" with the eleven Chilean players facing zero Soviet players before thousands of bemused spectators, and half a dozen Chilean players slowly passed the ball to each other in mock play until the captain walked the ball into the net.
|Team 1||Agg.||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Soviet Union||w.o.[note 1]||Chile||0–0||0–2[note 1]|
The following 16 teams qualified for the 1974 FIFA World Cup:
|Team||Finals Appearance||Streak||Last Appearance|
|West Germany (h)||8th||6||1970|
(h) - qualified automatically as hosts
(c) - qualified automatically as defending champions
8 of the 16 teams subsequently failed to qualify for the 1978 finals: Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, East Germany, Haiti, Uruguay, Yugoslavia and Zaire.