With December’s official 2018 World Cup draw around the corner, the road to qualification keeps narrowing for those with aspirations intact while those that have booked their ticket join hosts Russia in a state of joy.
Throughout the board, the last stages of qualification are ongoing, and sooner rather than later, all 32 sides will be known. Below is a complete guide of those that have reserved their seat in Russia, the ones that remain in contention and what those latter sides will need to make a World Cup appearance a reality:
CONCACAF’s qualifiers took a turn on Saturday as a stoppage-time goal placed Costa Rica in Russia, but dragged the battle for fourth place (a two-legged playoff with AFC fifth-placed side) to the final match day.
Mexico, Costa Rica
U.S. Men’s National Team – Qualifies with a victory over Trinidad and Tobago. Also qualify if they draw and Panama and Honduras either lose or draw.
Panama – Qualifies with an eight-goal victory over Costa Rica and the USMNT lose or draw against T&T. Can qualify for playoffs with a victory or draw if Honduras draw or lose, or a loss but are backed by an Honduran loss to Mexico.
Honduras – Qualifies with a 12-goal victory and both the USMNT and Panama lose. Qualifies for playoffs with a draw against Mexico, the USMNT winning and Panama losing to Costa Rica.
All of South America’s representatives for Russia’s big party– aside from Brazil, who already qualified — will be unveiled on Tuesday. Aside from Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, it’s an open race for South America’s four-and-a-half spots.
Uruguay – The only way Uruguay gets relegated to a playoff spot is if it loses at home to Bolivia, Colombia beats Peru, Chile wins in Brazil and Argentina wins in Ecuador.
Argentina – Qualifies with a win as long as Chile doesn’t beat Brazil, Colombia and Peru draw or Peru beats Colombia by a less margin than Argentina.
Chile – Qualifies with a win. Can also qualify with a draw if Colombia and Peru draw or Argentina drop three points to Ecuador.
Colombia – Qualifies with a win at Peru, but will also qualify if Chile loses to Brazil or Argentina fails to beat Ecuador.
Peru – Qualifies if it beats Colombia. Peru can also qualify with a draw if Chile loses by multiple goals, or if Chile loses by a goal and scores less than Peru. It can also qualify with a draw if Argentina fails to be Ecuador and Paraguay fails to beat Venezuela.
Paraguay – Win and have Chile lose to Brazil and Argentina falls to Ecuador.
After two years, World Cup qualification in Asia is wrapped up.
Four sides clinched automatic qualification after finishing top two in either Group A or B which was the regions third round of qualifiers. The third-placed teams in each group faced off in a playoff with Australia topping Syria thanks to goals from Tim Cahill that put the Soceroos against the fourth-placed team from CONCACAF.
Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia,
Qualified for playoffs:
One could say CAF’s qualification process is the most vigorous of all. Five spots, five groups each composed of four teams and only the five leaders of each group advance to the World Cup. Mohamed Salah’s heroics for Egypt have granted the side its first World Cup appearance in nearly 30 years while Nigeria cruised their way to their third-straight.
Tunisia – Qualifies if they win or draw against Libya on November 11, or lose and DR Congo lose or draw against Guinea on the same day.
DR Congo – Qualifies if they win against Guinea by multiple goals and Tunisia lose to Libya by two or more goals.
Morocco – Qualifies with a win or draw against Ivory Coast on November 11.
Ivory Coast – Qualifies by defeating Morocco.
Senegal – Qualifies by winning one of its two remaining bouts with South Africa or drawing both.
Burkina Faso – Qualifies with a multiple-goal victory over Cape Verde and Senegal gains no more than a point from their final two matches while losing one by multiple goals — four or more.
Cape Verde – Qualifies with a multiple-goal victory over Burkina Faso and Senegal gain no more than a point in its two final bouts against South Africa while overturning positive goal differential — +4. Cape Verde can also qualify if they win and South Africa win no more than one of their final two matches.
South Africa – Qualifies by defeating Senegal twice and Burkina Faso and Cape Verde draw their final group stage match, or either wins.
Serbia, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Germany, England , Iceland
Assured at least playoffs (can top group and qualify directly):
France, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden
Advance to playoffs:
Italy, Denmark, Croatia, North Ireland, Republic of Ireland
In contention for playoffs:
Netherlands, Greece, Slovakia
France – Qualifies with a victory over Belarus, or a draw and a draw from Sweden.
Sweden – Qualifies with a victory over Netherlands and a loss or draw from France.
Switzerland – Qualifies with a victory or draw against Portugal.
Portugal – Qualifies with a victory over Switzerland.
Netherlands – Qualifies for playoffs with landslide victory over Sweden.
Slovakia – Qualifies for playoffs with Greece and Netherlands either drawing or losing their final bouts.
Greece – Qualifies for playoffs with a victory over Gibraltar.
OFC (Oceanic) Qualifiers
OFC is the only region to not have a side assured of a spot in the world’s tournament. For a second cycle in a row, New Zealand will represent Oceania in the one of two two-legged playoffs. The Kiwis will face the fifth-placed CONMEBOL side.
Qualified for playoffs: