Of the six confederations, the OFC is by far the smallest and weakest, predominately made up of small and often impoverished island nations, in many of which football is not the most popular sport. Consequently, it has little influence in the wider football world, either in terms of international competition or as a source of players for high-profile club competitions. In 2006, the OFC's largest and most successful nation, Australia, transferred to the Asian Football Confederation, leaving New Zealand as the most prominent federation within the OFC.
The OFC also organises the Oceania Club Championship, a competition that has received surprisingly high levels of media support within New Zealand in its debut season. It serves primarily to determine the Oceania representative at the FIFA Club World Cup. In 2007, the OFC replaced the current club competition with the Oceania Champions League which begins in 2007. From 2007, this winner will no longer gain direct entry to the FIFA Club World Cup - but instead will play off against the host nation (currently Japan) champion for the final spot in the tournament. It is not clear whether this is permanent, or even if it could change if the Oceania entrant were to outperform entrants from other Confederations.
Of the federation's current teams, only New Zealand has ever competed on the world stage from the confederation, competing in the 1982 World Cup. Ex-founding member Australia has also competed in the World Cup finals, in 1974 and 2006. At the conclusion of Germany 2006, Australia's exit from the OFC was finalised (exiting formally on the 1 January 2006), being the last commitment of the transition before completely joining the Asian Football Confederation. The other minor exception to this has been the participation of the Solomon Islands in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Beach Football World Cup.
In the 2004 OFC Nations Cup, which doubled as the Oceania qualifying tournament for the 2006 World Cup, the Solomon Islands unexpectedly made the finals after a 2-2 draw with Australia at the last round. This effectively denied New Zealand a place in the third group phase by one group point as Vanuatu had beaten New Zealand 4-2 in an early round upset of the second group phase. Australia won OFC Nation Cup final by beating the Solomons 5:1 in Honiara and 6:0 in Sydney to represent OFC in the FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany 2005 The two teams met again in a two-legged World Cup qualifying final in September 2005 for the right to play the CONMEBOL representative for a place in the World Cup finals; Australia won 9:1 on aggregate (7:0 at home and 2:1 away) and progressed to the Oceania - South America playoff. Australia won this playoff against Uruguay on penalties after a 1:1 aggregate score after both legs of the playoff and after extra time, and qualified for the World Cup.
|1930-1962||None||No teams from Oceania entered.|
|1966||None||Entered in Asia.|
|1970||None||Entered in Asia.|
|1974||Australia||Entered in Asia, qualified but lost in group stage.|
|1978||None||Entered in Asia.|
|1982||New Zealand||Entered in Asia, qualified but lost in group stage.|
|1986||None||Australia lost to Scotland in the Intercontinental Play-offs. This is the first World Cup where Oceania was its own continent and thus did not partake in Asian qualification.|
|1990||None||Israel (who played in the Oceanian zone for political reasons) lost to Colombia in the Intercontinental Play-offs.|
|1994||None||Australia beat Canada, then lost to Argentina in the Intercontinental Play-offs.|
|1998||None||Australia lost to Iran in the Intercontinental Play-offs.|
|2002||None||Australia lost to Uruguay in the Intercontinental Play-offs.|
|2006||Australia||Australia beat Uruguay in the Intercontinental Play-offs to qualify, progressed through group stage, lost in round of 16 to Italy. This is the first time any Oceanic country made it past the group stage.|
|2010||The gold, silver and bronze medal winners of the 2007 South Pacific Games; New Caledonia, Fiji and Vanuatu are currently contesting the OFC Nations Cup with New Zealand. OFC Nations Cup winner then faces the fifth-placed Asian nation for a place in the World Cup Finals.|
(* - One qualification for Australia was not as a member of OFC but was as a member of AFC in 1974).