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2018 World Cup qualifiers
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Europe is the part of the globe with the most countries engaged with 54 nations shared in 9 different groups. After a series of 10 games, the first 9 are directly qualified for the world cup in Russia. The 8 best second compete then play in a play-off round. The road to Moscow is no longer very long!
By finishing first in Group A, the French team has validated its direct ticket for the 2018 World Cup, following a qualification campaign that is far from optimal. After beating the Netherlands on the seventh day, Deschamps's men have indeed ridden to qualify, conceding the draw against Luxembourg and winning only a goal away from Bulgaria and Belarus at the time of the last decisive week. No matter what, the most important thing is done and the French team will play the next World Cup in Russia!
After campaigns that have been mastered from start to finish, Belgium's Eden Hazard, Germany's Thomas Müller, Marcus Rashford's England and Robert Lewandowski's Poland all validated their participation in the 2018 World Cup is also the case of Portugal which finally ruled out Switzerland on the final day, Iceland which confirms its rise in power after being the surprise of the Euro in France, and Spain that won its duel at a distance with Italy.
Because in the duel most followed of these qualifications, it is indeed the Iberians who had the last word on champions of the World 2006. Long for the elbow-to-elbow with the Spanish, the Italian selection will have finally cracked during his trip to Spain (3-0) never to return to Morata and others. As a result, Squadra Azzurra finished in second position of pool G and will have to beat Sweden in the playoffs to validate her presence in Russia next summer.
The playoffs in Europe will take place between the 9th – 14th of November. Northern Ireland will face Switzerland, Croatia host Greece, Denmark will travel to the Republic of Ireland and Sweden will face Italy. The two Irish have great chances of still qualifying. Croatia and Italy will be the favourites in their groups.
N.Ireland vs Switzerland
Croatia vs Greece
Denmark vs R. of Ireland
Sweden vs Italy
In the range of unpleasant surprises, how can we not mention the failures of Wales, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey and the Netherlands? All of them positioned in groups that are largely within their reach, they did not even know how to take a place in the playoffs and will not take part in the big celebration of football in June next. Robben, Bale, Ramsey, Dzeko, Pjanic and Cenk Tosun among others will not be playing in Russia. Add to this the absence of Marek Hamsik and his Slovak teammates and you get the biggest disappointments of this qualification in the Euro zone.
In a part of the world where the first four teams are directly qualified it is finally Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia that have all validated their next world cup. Qualified for many days with a phenomenal campaign, Neymar and his teammates will have everyone in the CONMEBOL zone, taking 41 points out of 54 possible and losing only once. The same cannot be said of Argentina. Unrecognisable and overwhelmed throughout the playoffs, Jorge Sampaoli's men had to wait until the very last day and a full match of Messi against Ecuador to say hello to the Russian World Cup. Third in the final, Icardi and other Higuain will be accompanied by Colombia of Radamel Falcao and Uruguay of Edinson Cavani in Russian lands. Fifth, Peru will fight against New Zealand to validate definitively its participation.
While there is still a qualifying day left in Africa, some nations have already qualified on the African continent. This is particularly the case in Egypt and Nigeria, who have perfectly mastered their respective groups, eliminating in passing countries such as Ghana, Cameroon and Algeria. In other groups, Tunisia is no longer far from validating its participation, while Morocco and Senegal are in a position of strength.
In the CONCACAF zone, the first three of a pool of six were validating their participation in the World Cup. And in this game, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama were the strongest. In a contest of circumstances that will never be explained and after a polemical night, the United States of Christian Pulisic are eliminated to the detriment of Honduras who takes the place in the playoffs. Andy Najar and his team-mates will face Australia for a final lap before the World Cup.
In an Asia zone that is never easy to dominate, it is the Japanese of Vahid Halilhodzic, South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia who will meet in Moscow next summer. After the elimination of Syria in a play-off match, Australia's Tim Cahill will have to overcome Honduras once again in the final stages of the World Cup.
Article "2018 World Cup qualifiers" updated in 21/10/2017
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