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2018 World Cup qualifiers
Europe has the most countries taking part in the World Cup with 54 nations divided into 9 different groups. Following a series of 10 games, the first 9 directly qualify for the World Cup in Russia. The 8 runners up will then compete at the end. The road is still long but several teams are starting to show what they are capable of.
France, Germany, France, Spain, England, Italy and Belgium have all started strong in the process of qualifying from the European zone. All these nations are the first in their groups or neck and neck with another country. This is the case for France and Sweden tied on 7 points, Belgium tied with Greece on 9 points and the Italy-Spain duo both on 7 in group G. The formation of Didier Deschamps will be a key element in this campaign with the reception of the Swedes. The France team, with the momentum from hosting the Euros, seems to secure their status of the favourite. The Maanschaft, meanwhile, continue to lead with their three wins and seem untouchable. The Belgians cannot be faulted but remain under Greek threat. The Italians and Spanish are on course to compete for first place.
Some teams have surprised already in this campaign. Switzerland in particular. First in their group ahead of the Portuguese, after they made a great start. Their success on the first day (2-0) proved to the world that Ronaldo and teammates are mortal. Iceland can also be happy as the last two years has been full of highlights (quarter-finalists in the 2016 Euros) who are first place alongside Croatia in Group I. Montenegro, surprised us in group E. Their battle with Poland now relies on the result of the Armenia game. Not to mention Greece with 9 points and three wins in as many matches. After their failure to qualify for the last Euro, the European champions of 2004 will be hoping to participate in the next World Cup in Russia.
After a successful summer, Wales have had a difficult time in qualifiers. With one victory from three, Gareth Bale and his teammates will have to react quickly if they want to reach the World Cup. Notably absent from the last Euro, the Netherlands who have been starved, compete in Group A. Although players like Robben or Sneijder are missing, we still expect more from this Dutch side. Slovakia, fifth in their group, who were exceptional on French soil earlier this year have been lacklustre but there is still time to improve.
The qualifications for the South American region started ten days ago and the battle rages on. In the one part of the globe where only the top four teams qualify directly and the fifth team must go through an intercontinental qualifier, it is Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador and Colombia who, for the moment, have their tickets booked for Russia. With 21 points, Neymar and Co are ahead of Suarez and his team by a small margin. Colombia, meanwhile, are tied with Ecuador (17 points). These two nations find themselves ahead of Argentina. Aguero and his friends were able to overcome Uruguay (1-0) but eventually lost to Paraguay (0-1). The Argentina paradox. Venezuela (2 points), Bolivia (8) and Peru (8) appear to be out of the running for the qualification for the World Cup.
Qualifications have just started for the African region. The 20 nations divided into 5 groups of 4 teams will have to each earn their ticket. Only the first team in each group will make it to Russia for the World Cup 2018. At the moment and after one short day (5 remaining), the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tunisia share first place in Group A. Nigeria is leading in group B, which is considered the group of death with Cameroon, Algeria, Zambia. Ivory Coast group C, Senegal group D and Egypt group E, all won their first game.
World Cup Qualifiers for North, Central America and the Caribbean begins on 11 November but competition will be fierce. In a group of six nations including Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, four stand out. The United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras. Qualifications should be decided between this quartet. Namely, in this part of the world, the first 3 qualify and jet off to Russia while the fourth will play a continental play off against an opponent from the Asian region (see below).
Twelve nations make up the Asia region, divided into two groups of 5 teams. The first two directly qualify for the next World Cup while the third will have to battle it out to get their ticket to Russia. For now, Iran (10 points) and Uzbekistan (9) are qualified in Group A. Saudi Arabia (10) and Australia (8) are qualified from B. The Republic of Korea and Japan are currently among the rest that must battle it out for those last spots in the World Cup.
Article "2018 World Cup qualifiers" updated in 25/01/2017
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