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, with teams representing all UN member states except the Marshall Islands, 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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
Members of FIFA and its affiliated confederations include a majority of United Nations member states, as well as one state that is an observer at the United Nations (Palestine). They also include several constituent countries, autonomous areas, associated states, dependent territories, and two states with limited recognition who are neither UN members or observers (Kosovo and the Republic of China). The team from the Republic of China is designated as "Chinese Taipei" by both FIFA and its affiliated continental confederations.
Some national football associations are members of a continental federation, but their national teams have never participated in a tournament organized by FIFA or the corresponding confederation. These teams are noted in each subsection below.
Due to the geographical size of Asia, the AFC is subdivided into five sub-federations:
Due to the geographical size of Africa, CAF is divided into five regional federations:
The CONCACAF federation is divided into three regional federations that have responsibility for part of the region's geographical area:
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.
This section lists:
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.
Nauru is a UN member state with no recorded official football team, though there are reports of unofficial Nauru teams playing friendly matches on at least two occasions. Another UN member state, the Marshall Islands, has no recorded national football team.
There are eleven states with limited international recognition, de facto sovereign states, and associated states who are not members or observers of the United Nations. Four of these have national teams which are listed above: the Republic of China, which is a member of FIFA and the AFC (as Chinese Taipei); the Cook Islands, which is a member of FIFA and the OFC; Kosovo, which is a member of FIFA and UEFA; and Niue, who has no membership in FIFA but is an associate member of the OFC.
None of the remaining seven de facto sovereign or partially recognized states are members of FIFA or any of its affiliated continental confederations. Six of them, however, have fielded national teams in non-FIFA football matches and unofficial friendlies:
1: in addition to participating in non-FIFA football tournaments and in unofficial matches against FIFA-affiliated nations, Northern Cyprus participated in the 1980 Islamic Games football competition.
The national associations representing all six of these teams are members of ConIFA, an organization for teams representing unrecognized states, subnational regions, and stateless minorities. Another de facto sovereign state, Transnistria, is also a member of ConIFA. To date, however, it has no recorded national football team.
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. Consequently, it is recommended that all member associations involve all relevant stakeholders in football in their own structure.
The main condition for joining FIFA is thus general international recognition as a nation state and membership of the UN. However, this rule is not applied retroactively, and 26 of FIFA's members are not internationally recognised sovereign nations.[note 1]
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. 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. 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. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected this decision  and both teams were accepted in May 2016.
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. Two organisations have been created as alternatives to FIFA. The older of the two, the N.F.-Board (Nouvelle Fédération-Board), was founded in 2001 to promote international football among sovereign nations, unrecognised nations, regions and stateless peoples that are not members of FIFA, and to assist in their possible future membership of FIFA. A total of 49 member associations nations were listed on the N.F. Board's website as of March 2016, although at least one of these (Monaco) is no longer a member. In 2013, a new organisation, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA), was founded to carry on this work, with a number of its members having previously been affiliated to the NF-Board. 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.
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. Similarly, the British Crown Dependency of Jersey, whose national team has been active in non-FIFA football for decades, has applied to join UEFA.
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 team||Successor team(s)
|Other successor team(s)||Notes|
|Czechoslovakia||Czech Republic||Slovakia||Represented Czechoslovakia until its dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Competed as Representation of Czechs and Slovaks for the remainder of their 1994 World Cup qualifying games.|
|Saar||West Germany||Represented the Saarland Protectorate from 1950 to 1956 before its union with the Federal Republic of Germany.|
|West Germany||Germany||Represented West Germany between 1950 and 1990, before reunification with East Germany.|
|East Germany||Germany||Represented East Germany between 1952 and 1990, before reunification with West Germany.|
|Ireland||Northern Ireland||Republic of Ireland||Represented Ireland from 1882. On the secession of the Irish Free State (later Republic of Ireland) from the United Kingdom in 1922. As with the team of the Irish state, the team continued picking players from across the Island of Ireland until 1953 when it became Northern Ireland under pressure from FIFA.|
|Malaya||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.|
|Tanganyika||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.|
|Mandatory Palestine||Israel||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.|
|South Vietnam||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.|
|North Yemen||Yemen||Represented North Yemen from 1965 until its union with South Yemen in 1990.|
|South Yemen||Yemen||Represented South Yemen from 1965 until its union with North Yemen in 1990.|
|United Arab Republic||Egypt||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.|
|Soviet Union||CIS|| Estonia
|Represented the Soviet Union from 1924 until its dissolution in 1991. This was considered a continuation of the team that had previously represented the Russian Empire.|
|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.|
|Yugoslavia||Federal Republic of Yugoslavia|| Bosnia and Herzegovina
|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|
|Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, later renamed as Serbia and Montenegro||Serbia||Montenegro||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.|
|Netherlands Antilles||Curaçao|| Aruba
|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.|
In addition to the above, other nations have been renamed:
1: Still commonly called Ivory Coast in English-speaking countries