The current model includes a qualification round that lasts three years to select which teams advance to the tournament phase. During the tournament phase, 32 teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation (s), fight for the championship over a month at sites inside the host nation (s). The top two countries by record qualify for the finals.
At the end of the qualification process, there are two ways to get into the world cup. The more favourable one is if you're among the best eight nations by record. You only need to win one match to be included in the list of qualified nations. The other way is if you're not one of the top eight but still want to join in. In this case, you need to finish in the top two places among the remaining 24 countries. If there is a tie between several nations for these spots, they will be decided by play-offs called inter-confederation matches.
The current format of the world cup was established in 1998 when it was held in the United States. It's been every four years since then with Brazil hosting this year's event. Mexico has played in three tournaments before Japan and Germany who have both been once. There are plans to expand the world cup so it takes place every two years instead of four. However, this proposal needs approval from all countries involved so it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Each country can send only one team to the world cup.
The following is the qualifying structure: In the first round, 12 teams (ranked 35–46) played two legs of home-and-away. The top six finishers progress to the next round. Second round: 40 teams (ranked 1–34, plus six first-round winners) were grouped into eight groups of five teams to compete in home-and-away round-robin matches. The group winners advance to the quarterfinals, while the four lowest-placed teams are eliminated from contention.
Any team can qualify if they finish in the top three of their group. If more than three teams qualify, a play-off will be held to determine which third team advances to the next stage. The winner will qualify along with the group leaders.
In addition to the AFC Cup, only one team per country can participate in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup. If two or more teams from the same country qualify, then a play-off will be held to decide who joins them. The team that wins this play-off earns the right to represent its country in both tournaments.
How do you qualify for the CAF Champions League? A club must have reached at least the semifinal stage of the CAF Super Cup to be eligible to enter the CAF Champions League. If there is no CAF Super Cup match, then your highest placed team in any other domestic cup competition will determine your place in the tournament.
The current format of the tournament involves seven teams competing for the title over a two-week period at venues within the host nation; the winners of that year's AFC Champions League (Asia), CAF Champions League (Africa), CONCACAF Champions League (North America), Copa Libertadores (South America), OFC, and CONCACAF Champions League (North America).
Each team will play every other team once. The top four teams will advance to the knockout stage. In the quarterfinals, the fourth-place team will play the winner of the CONCACAF Champions League group stage between MLS clubs and third-place team will play the second-place team from the OFC Champions League. In the semifinals, the winners will play each other with the losers going into the third-place match. The winners will then meet in the final.
In addition to the champions, the other three places in the final will be determined by drawing after the group stages. If ties occur during the group stage, they will be resolved through extra time and, if necessary, a penalty shoot-out. The same process will be followed to determine third place and fifth place.
The first Club World Cup was held in December 2000 and was won by Brazilian club Flamengo. Mexican club Pachuca became the first non-Brazilian team to win the competition when they beat Brazilian club Vasco da Gama 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 after 120 minutes of play.
The hosts receive automatic bids, as did the reigning champions until 2002. Unlike in other sports, the results of past World Cups or continental championships are not considered. The current certification procedure, known as the 2022 qualification, began in 2019 and will conclude in 2022. Any nation that is still waiting to qualify can apply for re-election.
The first qualifying round started on 8 June 1974. There were six teams in the tournament: China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam. The second round was played two years later, with eight countries participating: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, England, Italy, and Mexico. These eight teams were joined by Germany, who had become eligible after its reunification in 1990. The third round was held in 1986 in Spain, with ten countries taking part: Algeria, Austria, Canada, Chile, France, Greece, Iran, Israel, Peru, and Romania. This was followed by four groups of three countries each in 1994 in Sweden, Norway, Japan, and South Africa. The final round was held in 1998 in France, with 16 nations competing: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Denmark, England, Egypt, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, and Yugoslavia (former Serbia and Montenegro).
The next major qualification round was the 2010 tournament in South Africa.