A total of 107 teams entered the 1978 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, which began with the preliminary qualification draw on 20 November 1975 at Guatemala City, competing for a total of 16 spots in the final tournament. Argentina, as the hosts, and West Germany, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition.
The 16 spots available in the 1978 World Cup would be distributed among the continental zones as follows:
A total of 95 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 252 qualifying matches were played, and 723 goals were scored (an average of 2.87 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.
|Team 1||Agg.||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
The following 16 teams qualified for the 1978 FIFA World Cup:
|Team||Finals Appearance||Streak||Last Appearance|
|West Germany (c)||9th||7||1974|
(h) - qualified automatically as hosts
(c) - qualified automatically as defending champions
5 of the 16 teams subsequently failed to qualify for the 1982 finals: Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden and Tunisia.