Intercontinental qualifiers in numbers

Intercontinental qualifiers in numbers

  • The final two places for Qatar 2022 will be decided in the knockout matches Australia – Peru, Costa Rica and New Zealand.

  • The Intercontinental Qualifiers were introduced in the qualifiers in Sweden in 1958

  • We present some numbers from the past few years


The cumulative viewership for the 1997 IR Iran-Australia match was a staggering 213K. 128 thousand people watched the 1-1 draw in the first-leg match at Azadi Stadium in Tehran. There were 85,000 at Melbourne Cricket Ground for the second leg seven days later. The vast majority of them were destroyed. Melli’s team trailed 2-0 with 15 minutes left, but Karim Bagheri and Khodadad Azizi scored the away win. Bagheri’s goal, which he scored while swinging, was a stunning 19 of his 14 in France 1998 qualifiers – a record for Ittihad in the preliminary round.


UEFA representatives have the best record in the Intercontinental Qualifiers (86% – 6 wins, 1 loss). They are followed by CONMEBOL (70% – 7 wins, 3 losses), Concacaf (50% – 3 wins, 3 losses), AFC (33% – 2 wins, 4 losses), OFC (30% – 3 wins, 7 losses) and CAF (0% – 0 win, 1 loss).


In 42 intercontinental matches, 36 games have survived without conceding a goal. Eight matches ended 0-0, and the qualifiers against Germany 2006 were the last exception with a goalless draw.



Australia has played six Intercontinental playoffs. Followed by New Zealand and Uruguay (three each), Bahrain, Iran and Israel (two each).


Uribe Peralta has scored five goals in the intercontinental qualifiers so far. The champions of Mexico’s shock victory over Brazil in the London 2012 Olympic Football Final scored twice in a 5-1 victory over New Zealand at the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City in 2013 before scoring in the return leg at Wellington Kick Ten in 19 minutes. Score a hat trick. The only other top scorer in the Intercontinental Playoffs is defensive midfielder Mile Jedinak, who sent Australia to Russia 2018 with his heroic act against Honduras. Milan Galic, who scored three times for Yugoslavia in two games against South Korea in 1961, is the only other player to score more than two goals in the Intercontinental Playoffs.


Fourth place is the best achievement by a country in the World Cup after qualifying through the Intercontinental qualifiers. Yugoslavia did so in Chile in 1962 when they eliminated West Germany on their way to the semi-finals. He encouraged Uruguay’s Diego Forlan and then repeated the achievement in South Africa 2010.


Two intercontinental matches were decided by penalty shootouts – Australia won both. The first was Mark Schwarzer’s fairy tale: first-choice goalkeeper Mark Bosnich rejected his match appeal against Canada and when Robert Zabeca was sent off after 17 minutes in the first leg, 20-year-old Schwarzer had to. Jumping into the deep end on his international debut. After a heroic 253-minute performance in Edmonton and Sydney, Schwarzer saved two penalty kicks in the penalty shootout to push Australia into the final, although he ended up losing 2-1 to Albiceleste, who had just lost a new goal. Set an unbeaten world record. Twelve years later, the same man saved two penalties again in the penalty shootout as Australia defeated two-time world champion Uruguay to reach the finals for the second time.

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Only two teams lost the first leg of the play-off and made it to the World Cup – in both cases it was the same countries. Uruguay lost 1-0 in Melbourne in 2001 but Alvaro Recoba and Dario Silva secured a 3-0 win in the return leg in Montevideo. Four years later, Australia retaliated. After the 1–0 defeat at Centenario, Marc Bresciano scored the only goal in Sydney before John Aloisie netted the penalty shootout winner.

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