Football365’s World Cup state of play…

Date published: Thursday 7th September 2017 7:45

The slots for next year’s World Cup finals are filling up after the latest round of qualifiers.

Hosts Russia know they will be joined by Belgium, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Brazil, but 24 other places are still up for grabs.

Here’s the low-down on the state of play across the world…

 

AFRICA

Who’s qualified?
Africa’s qualifying system is the most straightforward of all at this point. Five places are designated to the quintet of group winners, though no side is yet to make it.

Who can still make it?
Most of the usual suspects – Tunisia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Egypt – top their group but Burkina Faso are leading the way in the other four-team league that includes Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa. Algeria and Cameroon are out of contention already and Ghana look set to miss out as well.

 

ASIA

Who’s qualified?
Four countries from the Asia section were guaranteed to make it to Russia and it has been confirmed that Iran, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia have all secured those spots.

Who can still make it?
Two further nations are still alive. Australia, who switched from the Oceania section before the qualification process for the 2010 tournament, and surprise package Syria will face each other in a play-off in October, with the winner then advancing to a final play-off against a North American country.

 

EUROPE

Who’s qualified?
Belgium became the first, and so far only, European country to join hosts Russia at next summer’s finals when they defeated Greece 2-1 on Sunday.

Who can still make it?
The seven other group winners will join the Belgians in punching their tickets for Russia next month, with France, Switzerland, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain and Croatia currently at the summits. Eight of the nine group runners-up will advance to the play-offs in November. There is a mini-league between those eight second-placed sides, one which discounts results against the nations that finish bottom, and the country that comes last in that separate division misses the play-offs.

What about the home nations and the Republic of Ireland?
Group F leaders England need just a point across their final two games with Slovenia and Lithuania to ensure they make it through. Scotland, in England’s group, are one adrift of second-placed Slovakia, who they entertain next, and level on points with Slovenia, who they travel to in their final game. Northern Ireland are guaranteed second and have an adjusted total of 13 points in the mini-league for the play-offs, which should be enough for a berth. Wales are also second but would be the one country to miss out on the play-offs as it stands, while the Republic, who visit the Welsh in their final fixture, are one point behind in third.

 

NORTH, CENTRAL AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN

Who’s qualified?
Last Friday Mexico clinched their passage to the finals with three matches to spare having beaten Panama. There are two more slots still to be determined as well as a play-off berth.

Who can still make it?
Second-placed Costa Rica are looking good to make it through and Panama are sitting in third. The United States are fourth and would face an intercontinental play-off against either Australia or Syria, though they do host Panama next.

 

OCEANIA

Who’s qualified?
Nobody yet. The Oceanic section is the only one not assured of a place at the World Cup finals, though that will change with the expanded edition in 2026.

Who can still make it?
New Zealand, managed by Englishman Anthony Hudson, are the last country standing having seen off the Solomon Islands 8-3 over two legs to confirm their place in an intercontinental play-off against the country that finishes fifth in the South American standings.

 

SOUTH AMERICA

Who’s qualified?
Five-time champions Brazil started planning for their 21st consecutive finals back in March when they became the first country on the planet to qualify. Three others will make it through and a fourth will contest a play-off against New Zealand.

Who can still make it?
Just seven points separate Uruguay in second and Ecuador in eighth so seven countries are still alive. Uruguay, Colombia and Peru sit in the automatic qualification slots currently, while two-time winners Argentina are only in the play-off spot and Chile face missing out altogether.

More Related Articles

Comments