One-hundred and ninety-eight countries tried to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. Hosts Germany were granted automatic qualification; the remaining 31 finals places were divided by continental confederation. Thirteen places were contested by UEFA nations (Europe), 5 by CAF nations (Africa), 4 by CONMEBOL nations (South America), 4 by AFC nations (Asia), and 3 by CONCACAF nations (North and Central America and Caribbean). The remaining two places were decided by playoffs between AFC and CONCACAF and between CONMEBOL and OFC (Oceania).
Eight countries qualified for the finals for the first occasion: Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Ghana, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine and Serbia & Montenegro. Czech Republic and Ukraine were making their debut show as independent countries. For the first occasion since the 1982 World Cup, all 6 confederations were represented.
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