The teams that made the cut for the World Cup, and those that didn’t

By Soccer Blog | Nov 22, 2017

After a two and a half year qualifying journey that began in March 2015, we have our final 32 teams that will do battle at the World Cup in Russia next summer. Ahead of next week’s draw, we have a look at the teams from each continent that made the cut, and those that didn’t

Teams to have Qualified for WC 2018

CONMEBOL (5)– Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru

CONMEBOL provided the first team to qualify for the tournament (apart from hosts Russia) in the form of five time winners Brazil, as well as the 32nd and last team to make the cut in the form of Peru, who won their intercontinental playoff against New Zealand. Los Incas will be making their first World Cup appearance since 1982, and such was the joy in Lima that the government declared a national holiday following the country’s victory over the All Whites.

Argentina were in serious danger of not making it, until Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, perhaps aware that Russia 2018 might be his final shot at glory, decided to take matters into his own hands and single handedly dragged the Albiceleste over the qualifying line.

Team that surprisingly did not make it– Chile

The reigning Copa America champions and 2017 Confederations Cup runners-up surprisingly failed to qualify, meaning that we will not get to see the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and co. at Russia 2018. In a cruel twist of fate, an appeal over an ineligible Bolivian player effectively cost Chile a spot- had the original results stood, Chile would’ve made it to the playoffs at the expense of Peru.


Europe (14)

Teams that made it: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Teams that surprisingly did not make it: Italy, Netherlands

The biggest shocks from European qualifying came in the form of the Netherlands and Italy failing to qualify. The Dutch were runners up in 2010 and finished third in 2014. The Azzurri will not be present at the World Cup for the first time since 1958, with coach Gian Piero Ventura’s questionable tactics largely to blame. The team that effectively knocked both out was Sweden (sans Zlatan Ibrahimovic), who finished ahead of the Oranje in their qualifying group, and then kept Italy scoreless in a two legged playoff.

Legendary Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon, aiming for a record sixth World Cup, could not hold back his tears on national TV.

Germany were imperious in qualifying- the only team to win all 10 of their qualifiers, and the defending champions are 5/1 (+500) at Topbet to retain their crown. They scored 43 goals (the joint most) and let in just four- Die Mannschaft certainly mean business.

Tiny Iceland continued from where they left off at Euro 2016 to book their first appearance ever at a World Cup. Russia 2018 will mark the first occasion where three Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark and Iceland) will take part at the same World Cup.

Apart from England, none of the other Home Nations will be present at the World Cup. European semifinalists Wales, hampered by Gareth Bale’s absence towards the end of qualifying, failed to make it out of their group.

Buffon crying

CONCACAF (3)– Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama.

The biggest shock was reigning Gold Cup United States failing to qualify for the first time since 1986. Honduras made it to the playoffs but lost to Australia.

Tiny Panama, like Iceland, will be making their maiden finals appearance at Russia next summer.

USA Failed to Qualify

Asia: (5)- Australia, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea

The surprise package from Asia was war torn Syria, who showed plenty of courage by pipping both Uzbekistan and China to a fourth round spot. They narrowly missed out on the intercontinental playoffs after going down 3-2 on aggregate to Australia.

Africa:- (5)- Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia

Big name teams that did not make it: Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon

Like Chile and the United States, another continental champion that failed to make the cut was Cameroon, with the Indomitable Lions finishing third in their group. Ghana and Ivory Coast had made it to the last three World Cups, but both failed to qualify for Russia 2018. Twelve years ago, Group E at the 2006 World Cup, consisting of Italy, Ghana, USA and the Czech Republic, was dubbed the Group of Death, but none of the four were able to book their tickets to Russia this time around.

Herve Renard continued his amazing run as coach by guiding Morocco to the finals for the first time since 1998. There was also plenty of joy for Mohamed Salah and Egypt, with the Pharaohs qualifying for their first World Cup in 28 years.

Herve Renard

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