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List of national football teams facts for kids

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As of June 2010, there are 208 football associations affiliated to FIFA. The associations are divided into six confederations. The confederations formed by continent. The confederations are:

Members of FIFA affiliated confederations

AFC (Asia)

Due to the geographical size of Asia, the AFC is subdivided into five sub-federations:

  • West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) – represents nations at the western extremity of the continent, except Iran.
  • East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) – represents nations in Northeast Asia, plus Guam and Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Central Asian Football Federation (CAFF) – represents nations in Central Asia, plus Iran.
  • South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) – represents nations in South Asia.
  • ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) – represents nations in Southeast Asia, plus Australia.
  • 1: National governing body was formerly a member of OFC (1966–2006)
  • 2: National governing body is a member of UAFA
  • 3: Official name used by FIFA and AFC for People's Republic of China
  • 4: Official name used by FIFA and AFC for Republic of China (Taiwan); national governing body was a member of OFC from 1975 to 1989
  • 5: Official names used by FIFA and AFC for Democratic People's Republic of Korea (a) and Republic of Korea (b)
  • 6: National governing body is an associate member of AFC but not a FIFA member
  • 7: National governing body was formerly a member of OFC (2005–2009)
  • 8: Official name used by FIFA and AFC for national team representing the State of Palestine

CAF (Africa)

Due to the geographical size of Africa, CAF is divided into five regional federations:

  • Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) – represents nations generally regarded as forming the regions of East Africa and some nations of Central Africa.
  • Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) – represents nations generally regarded as forming Southern Africa, as well as island states off the coast of Southern Africa.
  • West African Football Union/Union du Football de l'Ouest Afrique (WAFU/UFOA) – represents nations in West Africa.
  • Union of North African Federations (UNAF) – represents nations regarded as forming North Africa.
  • Union des Fédérations du Football de l'Afrique Centrale (UNIFFAC) – represents some of the nations that form Central Africa.
  • 1: National governing body is a member of UAFA
  • 2: National governing body is an associate member of CAF, but not a FIFA member
  • 3: Has never participated in any tournaments organized by FIFA or CAF
  • 4: National governing body is a member of ConIFA

CONCACAF (North America, Central America and the Caribbean)

The CONCACAF federation is divided into three regional federations that have responsibility for part of the region's geographical area:

  • Caribbean Football Union (CFU) – represents all nations in the Caribbean.
  • North American Football Union (NAFU) – represents the teams of Canada, Mexico and the USA.
  • Union Centroamericana de Fútbol (UNCAF) – represents the seven nations of Central America.
  • 1: National governing body is a full member of CONCACAF but not a FIFA member

CONMEBOL (South America)

OFC (Oceania)

  • 1: National governing body is an associate member of the OFC, but not a FIFA member
  • 2: National governing body is a member of ConIFA
  • 3: Has never participated in any tournaments organized by FIFA or the OFC
  • 4: National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1964-1966)

UEFA (Europe)

  • 1: National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1954–1974); joined UEFA in 1994
  • 2: National governing body was formerly a member of AFC (1993–2002)

National teams not affiliated to FIFA confederations

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:

  • 6 teams representing sovereign states who are members or observers of the United Nations.
  • 6 teams representing states which are not members of the United Nations.

Unaffiliated United Nations states

There are seven United Nations member and observer states which are not members of FIFA or any of its affiliated continental confederations. Six 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. Some of these teams have been run by a football federation in their country of origin, while others have only been organized informally.

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.

The Marshall Islands and Nauru are the only UN member states with no recorded national football teams.

Unaffiliated non-UN states

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:

  •  Abkhazia
  •  Artsakh
  •  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus1
  •  Somaliland
  •  South Ossetia
  •  Western Sahara

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.

Others

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.

FIFAFIFA Statutes April 2016

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.

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.

Former national football teams

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)
(inherited position/results)
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.
 Saarland  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  Ireland Represented Ireland from 1882. On the secession of the Irish Free State (later Republic of Ireland) from the United Kingdom in 1922, the team continued picking players from across 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  [[Palestinian National Authority {{{altlink}}}|Palestinian National Authority]] 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.
 USSR  CIS  Estonia
 Latvia
 Lithuania
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.
 CIS  Russia  Armenia
 Azerbaijan
 Belarus
 Georgia
 Kazakhstan
 Kyrgyzstan
 Moldova
 Tajikistan
 Turkmenistan
 Ukraine
 Uzbekistan
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 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia  Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Croatia
 FYR Macedonia
 Slovenia
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
 Bonaire
 Sint Maarten
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.

New names

In addition to the above, other nations have been renamed:

1: Still commonly called Ivory Coast in English-speaking countries

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