As many as six Asian teams could compete in the 2002 World Cup, FIFA general-secretary Sepp Blatter revealed yesterday. Blatter said Asia would not lose any of its three-and-a-half qualifying berths despite the fact that hosts Japan and South Korea would both be granted automatic places. Asked if Asia would be given more places at the 2002 World Cup, FIFA presidency hopeful Blatter replied: 'At the moment Asia has four [places] out of 32. The problem is when one of the confederations like Europe has 15 teams out of 32, one can ask if this is solidarity or not. 'But, at the same time, the World Cup has to be played on the best technical level. Currently Asia has four teams . . . in 2002, Asia has the organisation so the berths which go to the organising national associations will not be deducted from the number they have been given out. 'So Asia will have two places because they will have Japan and Korea, and the three-and-a-half minimum will remain and possibly four or possibly more. But first we have to see the results of the World Cup - but definitely Asia will not have less. So don't fear that because you have two organisers that you will lose one of the teams.' For this year's World Cup, Asia's final qualifying round was split into two groups of five, with each group winner getting an automatic spot in France. The two runners-up then faced off in a play-off for the third berth with the loser of that match going into a further play-off against the winner of the Oceania zone qualifying. Blatter said he hoped to see teams from Asia and Africa qualify for the quarter-finals of the tournament. 'In the World Cup there are always surprises but never miracles,' he said. 'My wish and my desire is that amongst the last eight teams - four years ago we had seven from Europe and one from South America - I would like to see teams from all the confederations. At least one team from Africa and one team from Asia.'