How Many Teams From the UK and Ireland Will Qualify for the 2026 World Cup?

The United Kingdom and Ireland are expected to be well represented at the 2026 World Cup, with England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland vying for a spot in the showpiece event.

The World Cup qualification campaign for European teams is scheduled to kick off in March 2025, and the five teams are braced for a chance to stake their claim for a place in the upcoming tournament hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

England and Scotland were the pick of the bunch in the qualifiers for the 2024 European Championship. Wales were unfortunate not to qualify, while the Irish pair were nothing short of embarrassing.

The World Cup qualifiers offer a shot at redemption, yet the lingering uncertainty from Euro qualification prompts speculation about how many teams from the UK will ultimately secure a place on the global stage. We take a closer look at their chances.


England went unbeaten in their eight Euro 2024 qualifying fixtures, although their final 1-1 draw against North Macedonia left a lot to be desired.

However, you’d still bet on the Three Lions to take centre stage at the World Cup, especially with online bookmakers handing Gareth Southgate’s side odds of 13/2 to secure football’s holy grail.

Speaking of Southgate, there remains a pertinent question surrounding his future, with his existing contract set to run out at the end of next year.

The outcome of the Euros will undoubtedly play a significant role in deciding his future, but with a lack of options lining up for the job, England will likely retain Southgate’s services for the World Cup.


Scotland were one of the most impressive teams in the Euro qualifiers, winning five of their eight Group A games to secure a spot in Germany alongside group winners Spain.

The World Cup qualifiers will be a different ball game, but the Scots will fancy their chances of earning the right to feature on the grandest stage.

Getting to the World Cup is one thing, but winning the tournament is potentially out of the question for Scotland, emphasised by their odds of 350/1 to secure the title.

While there are question marks over their ability to stage a deep run in the tournament, the Tartan Army should be aiming to at least qualify for the knockout phase.


Wales were unfortunate not to punch their ticket to the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany despite some impressive performances in Group D.

While they will be gutted to miss out on the 2024 tournament, the World Cup qualifier offers the Dragons a chance at redemption, and they’ll be eager to get the job done.

There’s every chance Wales can secure a World Cup slot, but their odds of 350/1 to win the title suggest making an appearance is all they can hope for in the highly anticipated competition.

Republic of Ireland

Stephen Kenny departed his role as manager of the Republic of Ireland after a massively underwhelming Euro qualifying campaign that saw the team win just two of their eight fixtures.

Kenny’s reign as manager comprised 29 competitive fixtures, of which only six – five against Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Armenia and Gibraltar twice – ended in victory.

Ireland will announce the appointment of a new manager in the coming weeks, which could be pivotal to their qualification hopes but not enough to clinch victory in the competition. 

The odds offered by the best betting sites in Ireland stand at 1000/1, emphasising the impossible task of achieving an unlikely triumph on the world stage.

Northern Ireland

Having picked up three more points than their Irish counterparts in the Euro qualifiers, Northern Ireland can just about boast local bragging rights.

Not since 1986 have they qualified for the World Cup, and it’s no wonder they share identical odds of victory as Ireland at 1000/1.

If they’re going to land a historic spot in the upcoming World Cup, there needs to be improvement from Northern Ireland, who have failed to qualify for a major tournament since Euro 2016.

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John Day
John Day is a seasoned sports writer and brings a unique blend of insightful analysis and covers the stories that matter most to sports enthusiasts everywhere.

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