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|Teams||199 (from 6 confederations)|
|Goals scored||2452 (3.16 per match)|
A total of 199 teams entered the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 32 spots in the final tournament. Korea Republic and Japan, as the co-hosts, and France, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 29 spots open for competition.
The 32 spots available in the 2002 World Cup would be distributed among the continental zones as follows:
- Europe (UEFA): 14.5 places, 1 of them went to automatic qualifier France, while the other 13.5 places were contested by 50 teams. The winner of the 0.5 place would advance to the Intercontinental Play-offs (against a team from AFC)
- South America (CONMEBOL): 4.5 places, contested by 10 teams. The winner of the 0.5 place would advance to the Intercontinental Play-offs (against a team from OFC).
- North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF): 3 places, contested by 35 teams.
- Africa (CAF): 5 places, contested by 51 teams.
- Asia (AFC): 4.5 places, 2 of them went to automatic qualifiers South Korea and Japan, while the other 2.5 places were contested by 40 teams. The winner of the 0.5 place would advance to the Intercontinental Play-offs (against a team from UEFA).
- Oceania (OFC): 0.5 place, contested by 10 teams. The winner of the 0.5 place would advance to the Intercontinental Play-offs (against a team from CONMEBOL).
A total of 193 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 777 qualifying matches were played, and 2452 goals were scored (an average of 3.17 per match).
Continental zones 
To see the dates and results of the qualification rounds for each continental zone, click on the following articles:
- Group 1 - Russia qualified. Slovenia advanced to the UEFA Play-offs.
- Group 2 - Portugal qualified. Republic of Ireland advanced to the UEFA / AFC Intercontinental Play-off
- Group 3 - Denmark qualified. Czech Republic advanced to the UEFA Play-offs.
- Group 4 - Sweden qualified. Turkey advanced to the UEFA Play-offs.
- Group 5 - Poland qualified. Ukraine advanced to the UEFA Play-offs.
- Group 6 - Croatia qualified. Belgium advanced to the UEFA Play-offs.
- Group 7 - Spain qualified. Austria advanced to the UEFA Play-offs.
- Group 8 - Italy qualified. Romania advanced to the UEFA Play-offs.
- Group 9 - England qualified. Germany advanced to the UEFA Play-offs.
- Play-offs - Belgium, Germany, Slovenia and Turkey qualified over Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania, and Austria respectively.
- Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil and Paraguay qualified. Uruguay advanced to the CONMEBOL / OFC Intercontinental Play-off.
- Costa Rica, Mexico and USA qualified.
- Group A - Cameroon qualified.
- Group B - Nigeria qualified.
- Group C - Senegal qualified.
- Group D - Tunisia qualified.
- Group E - South Africa qualified.
- Group A - Saudi Arabia qualified. Iran advanced to the AFC Play-off.
- Group B - China PR qualified. United Arab Emirates advanced to the AFC Play-off.
- Play-off - Iran advanced to the UEFA / AFC Intercontinental Play-off over United Arab Emirates.
- Australia advanced to the CONMEBOL / OFC Intercontinental Play-off.
Intercontinental Play-offs 
The teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis. The winner would qualify.
UEFA – AFC Intercontinental Play-off 
|Republic of Ireland||2–0||Iran||Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Referee: Antonio Pereira da Silva (Brazil)
|Harte 44' (pen.)
|Iran||1–0||Republic of Ireland||Azadi Stadium, Tehran
Referee: Mattus (Costa Rica)
Republic of Ireland qualified by the aggregate score of 2–1.
|Australia||1–0||Uruguay||Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Referee: Cesari (Italy)
|Muscat 78' (pen.)||(Report)|
|Uruguay||3–0||Australia||Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
Referee: Bujsaim (UAE)
Morales 70', 90'
Uruguay qualified by the aggregate score of 3–1.
Qualified teams 
The following 32 teams qualified for the 2002 FIFA World Cup:
|Team||Finals appearance||Streak||Last appearance|
|South Korea (h)||6th||5||1998|
|Republic of Ireland||3rd||1||1994|
(h) - qualified automatically as co-hosts
(c) - qualified automatically as defending champions
- On their way to World Cup 2002, Brazil endured their worst qualifying campaign ever, losing 6 matches (the only time so far they lost more than 2 games in a qualifying campaign) and finishing 3rd of the South American qualifying group (the only time so far they have not emerged as leaders of their qualifying group). However, Brazil went on to win the World Cup 2002 with a record-breaking tally of 7 wins in 7 matches in the final competition, without facing extra time nor penalty shootouts. The following teams also won all their final competition matches : Uruguay in 1930 (4 games), Italy in 1938 (4 games, among which 1 game won after extra time), Brazil in 1970 (6 games) and France in 1998 (7 games,among which one game was won in added extra time by a golden goal and one game was won on penalties). In 1970, Brazil had also won all of their 6 preliminary competition matches. Uruguay did not play any preliminary round for 1930, as there was none, and Italy did not either for 1938 as they were automatically qualified for the World Cup as title holders.
- Germany lost a World Cup qualifying match for the second time only on 1 September 2001, when they were defeated 1-5 by England in Munich. They had played 62 World Cup qualifying matches before (47 wins, 14 draws, 1 loss). Apart from Germany, no team having played more than 20 World Cup qualifying matches have lost less than 3 of them. Oddly, their first loss ever in a World Cup qualifier also took place while playing home, in Stuttgart, against Portugal in 1985.
- Australia netted 31 goals against newcomers American Samoa, setting the record of the highest-scoring match and biggest margin of victory in an international match ever. This was only two days after Australia thrashed Tonga 22-0, a then international record. Also, Archie Thompson's 13 goals in the match against American Samoa surpassed the previous record of 10.
- Togolese Souleymane Mamam became the youngest player ever to play in a World Cup qualifying match at the age of 13 years and 310 days in the match against Zambia, in Lomé, in May 2001. He subbed in for Komlan Assignon, three minutes from full time.
- The fastest-ever hat-trick in an "A" international was set when Abdul Hamid Bassiouny of Egypt needed only 177 seconds to bag his three goals in a game against Namibia.
- Switzerland's Kubilay Türkyilmaz scored a hat trick exclusively from penalties against the Faroe Islands. Brazil's Ronaldo equaled this against Argentina in his team's 3-1 win in the 2006 World Cup qualifying round.