1966 Preliminaries
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England: the road to Mexico 19


Background The World Cup Preliminary draw for the qualification groups was held at Casablanca, Morocco on 31 January 1968.  England, as defending champions, were placed in group nine, and host nation Mexico, placed in group fourteen, qualified automatically for the final tournament.

"England, holders of the World Cup, will not have to qualify for the next tournament in Mexico in 1970, Sir Stanley Rous, president of the International Football Federation (F.I.F.A.), said yesterday in London. They will, therefore, be exempt until the final stages along with Mexico, the host country. A special technical study group of F.I.F.A. recently suggested that the host country should be exempt from preliminary competitions but that the winners should not have open entry to the final competition. Sir Stanley said:-"The organising committee of F.I.F.A. discussed the matter last November and agreed that the 1970 World Cup should be organised basically on the same formula as in England last year with the holders and hosts automatically qualifying. This decision is subject to the sanction of the F.I.F.A. Congress." He added that England would probably-as World Cup holders-play at Guadalajara, which is lower in altitude than Mexico City."
- Friday, 31 March 1967

A record 75 teams entered, and 70 took part.  

Group Nine
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
England qualified as World Champions