The world cup qualifying is coming towards the closing stage and this is where things get really interesting. We have already seen some big upsets and surprises among a few teams who have. The world cup in Russia will see some of the best names in the world of football and we cannot wait for the tournament to get underway.
We take a look at the current qualifying scenario across all the confederations.
UEFA – Iceland Fairytale Continues.
The biggest surprise elimination from Europe has to be the Netherlands. Failure to qualify for Euro 2016 was a wake-up call, but the Dutch have once again failed to make it to a major competition for the second time.
The Republic of Ireland gained a 1-0 victory over Wales to book themselves a playoff spot. Wales would have been heartbroken following their failure to qualify for their first ever world cup. Poland will be making a comeback to the world stage after missing out on the last two editions.
Iceland will be the only team from Europe making their debut at the world cup as they finished ahead of Croatia, hence becoming the smallest country ever to qualify for the world cup. Iceland fairytale should inspire a lot of nations who aspire to be part of the mega event.
Belgium, Spain, England, Germany all qualified as group winners without facing a single defeat on the road to Russia.
CAF – Egypt Return to the World Cup
The African qualifying campaign seems to be the most interesting of all other confederations. With just one more match to go for most of the teams, the race for the world cup is getting ever interesting. We may not get to see the usual African heavyweights at Russia 2018. The next round of matches will decide the 3 remaining teams that will qualify for the world cup.
Nigeria was the first team to qualify. Egypt secured qualification after a 27-year wait following a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Mohammad Salah against Congo. Nigeria arguably had the most difficult groups featuring the likes of Algeria and Cameroon, but only one team had to go through. Morocco surprisingly sits atop above giants Ivory coast. A point from their next game for Morocco will earn them a there first ever appearance at the FIFA world cup.
The other two groups have teams who are not world cup regulars. Group A has Tunisia sitting pretty at the top and their qualification is pretty much confirmed. Their best phase was from 1998 to 2006 when they qualified for three consecutive world cups. Group D has Senegal in pole position to clinch the qualifying slot.
AFC – Syrian Won The Hearts
The Qualification from Asia was pretty much as usual with Iran, Japan, South Korea booking their places. Saudi Arabia qualified ahead of Australia with the Aussies being pushed to the Playoff slot. Syria was left heartbroken after their extra time defeat to Australia in the playoff. The final spot will be decided after the inter-confederation playoff between Australia and Honduras in November.
Syria was left heartbroken after their extra time defeat to Australia in the playoff. The final spot will be decided after the inter-confederation playoff between Australia and Honduras in November. Even though Syria lost the match, they have certainly won hearts of millions of fans around the world. Their fighting spirit on the playing field was exuberant.
Oceania – Can they make a cut?
The weakest of all confederations, Oceania has seen only one team progress to the inter-confederation Playoff over the last few editions. Once again New Zealand has made it to the penultimate stage where they will face Peru. They will be looking to repeat the feat of 2010 which was the first time they qualified for a world cup.
The absence of The USA will be one to notice at the 2018 world cup. The Americans finished a poor 5th out of 6 teams in the final round robin stage. A win against Trinidad and Tobago was all they needed, but defeat meant that Panama clinched the automatic Qualification slot with Honduras in the playoffs. This should be an eye-opener for the USA. The football in the USA was on the upward curve until now, they are not the sole superpower in regional football anymore.
Runaway winners Mexico topped the group and Costa Rica finished second.
Messi’s magic once again came to Argentina’s rescue as they earned last grasp Qualification for the world cup. Peru slipped into the playoff slot while Argentina finished third. Brazil topped the table with just 1 defeat throughout the campaign. Chile surprisingly missed out as Peru finished above them