The qualification competition for the 1990 FIFA World Cup was a series of tournaments organised by the six FIFA confederations. Each confederation — the AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), CONCACAF (North America), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania), and UEFA (Europe) — was allocated a certain number of the 24 places at the tournament. A total of 116 teams entered the competition, with Italy, as the host, and Argentina, as the holders, qualifying for the final tournament automatically.
The first qualification match was played on 17 April 1988 and qualification concluded on 19 November 1989. A total of 735 goals were scored in the 314 qualifying matches (an average of 2.34 per match).