There are still nine berths up for grabs before the group draw in December.
AFTER ANOTHER DRAMATIC night of qualifying action, we now know over half of the teams that will compete in the group stages of next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Lionel Messi’s sensational hat-trick against Ecuador sealed Argentina’s passage through to the finals having survived a major scare after starting the night outside the qualification berths.
Uruguay and Colombia also booked their passage through to Russia but Chile’s defeat to Brazil meant they missed out on qualification for their third consecutive World Cup.
The story of the night, however, was Panama’s historic victory over Costa Rica which sealed their place in a first-ever World Cup at the expense of the United States, who lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago.
It’s the first time the USA have failed to qualify for the tournament since 1986.
It all means we now have 23 countries in the group stage draw for the tournament, with the remaining nine qualifiers to be determined over the next month.
Teams that have qualified for 2018 World Cup:
Europe: Belgium, England, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Russia (as hosts), Serbia, Spain, France, Portugal.
Africa: Egypt, Nigeria.
Asia: Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea.
North, Latin America: Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama.
South America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia.
Teams that can still qualify:
In Europe, the eight best runners-up from the qualifying stages, including Ireland, will go into next Monday’s play-off draw. They are:
Seeded: Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Denmark
Unseeded: Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Greece
In Africa, there are still three places up for grabs as the third and final round of qualifying enters the last two group games. Egypt and Nigeria have already safely booked their places in Russia, with Morocco, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Tunisia and DR Congo still vying for qualification.
The current standings and remaining fixtures are available here.
That leaves two final group stage berths for the 2018 finals still down for decision and they’ll be decided by two two-legged play-off games involving countries from Asia (Australia), CONCACAF (Honduras), Oceania (New Zealand) and South America (Peru).
- Australia v Honduras
- New Zealand v Peru
The winner of each tie will secure a place at the World Cup.