After a qualification process involving 209 national football teams and lasting for more than two years, the list of 32 sides to take part in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia is beginning to take shape.

Each continent gets to be represented at the tournament with 5 teams from Africa, 13 form Europe, 4 from Asia, 5 from South America, 1 from Oceania, 3 from North and Central America and Caribbean and the host nation.

Twenty three out of the 32 of those have already been confirmed in the tournament and the remaining nine will be known by November.  Only four places remain in Europe, three in Africa, one in Oceania and one in South America.

Nigeria and Egypt are the two African sides that have already qualified and the remaining three teams will go all the way to the final day of the qualification campaign.

Morocco lead their group, one point ahead of second placed Ivory Coast, and the two face-off in the decisive match on November 11. The Moroccans only need a draw while the Ivorians need a win to qualify.

Morocco last competed at a World Cup in 1998 and are banking on former Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard to end a run of four failed qualifying campaigns.

Tunisia need one point from a home fixture against North African neighbors Libya to secure a fifth World Cup appearance and their first since 2006, while DR Congo will need a win against Guinea to qualify, should Tunisia lose.

Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia in Group B all have a chance to qualify and will be settled on the final day.

Meanwhile, elsewhere the USA failed to qualify for the first time since 1986 after a shocking 2-1 defeat to 99th ranked Trinidad & Tobago.

The Netherlands, 2010 runners-up, also missed out on a second successive major tournament despite beating Sweden 2-0 in their final game of the qualifiers.

Argentina needed Messi’s hattrick to book a place in a 3-1 comeback against Ecuador.

Europe gets 13 places but they will be 14 due the hosts Russia. 10 nations are already confirmed and the other 4 slots will be determined by paly-offs.

Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Greece and Croatia still have a chance to qualify through the play-offs.

The play-off draw will take place on Tuesday 17 October. The first legs will be played on 9-11 November, with the second legs on 12-14 November.

Australia will face Honduras next month in a final two-legged playoff tie to confirm a team from the Oceania region.

The final draw for the tournament will be held in Moscow on Friday 1 December.

 

Qualified teams:

Africa: Nigeria, Egypt.

Europe: Russia (hosts), Belgium, Germany, England, Spain, Poland, Serbia, Iceland, France, Portugal.

South America: Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia.

North, Central America and Caribbean: Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama.

Asia: Iran, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia.

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