Record 2010 WC entry

Record number of World Cup entrants
By Reuters

30/03/2007 at 11:20Updated

A record 204 countries have entered the qualifying competition for the 2010 World Cup finals, according to football's governing body FIFA.

The number beats the previous record of 199 teams which entered for the 2002 World Cup finals and only Bhutan, Brunei, Laos and the Philippines have not registered to take part.

The number of entrants for 2010 includes host nation South Africa and Montenegro, which became the 53rd member of UEFA in January and is expected to be admitted as the 208th member of FIFA at the world governing body's Congress in Zurich in May.

The qualifying competition starts in August 2007 with the Oceania confederation using matches played in the South Pacific Games as a preliminary qualifying tournament for their region.

South Africa have automatically qualified as hosts for the finals which begin on June 11, 2010 with the final scheduled for July 11.

Of the 31 places available for the qualifiers, 13 will go to European teams and five will be taken by African qualifiers.

Playoffs will determine the exact number of qualifiers from the other confederations with Asia providing either four or five qualifiers, CONCACAF three or four, South America four or five and Oceania either none or one.

Asia and Oceania teams will meet in one playoff while South American and CONCACAF teams play in the other.