Holland, USA eliminated, Italy with a fighting chance, and more intriguing facts on the #Russia2018 Qualifiers

The World Cup qualifying stages is drawing to a close.

YNaija looks at the teams who would be travelling in the December draw for the competition in Russia next summer, those who could still have a fighting chance and those who will definitely miss out.

After a qualification process involving 209 national teams and lasting more than two years, the list of 32 sides who will be in December draw for the 2018 World Cup is taking shape. Check out the tables below:

Africa (CAF)

Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea, Libya

Qualified: None

Eliminated: Guinea and Libya

Highlights: Tunisia has won 4 of their 5 games so far and is followed by DR Congo, on 10 points from 5 games. Guinea and Libya both have three points.


Group B: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria

Qualified: Nigeria

Eliminated: Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia

Highlights: Nigeria became the first African side to reach Russia after beating Zambia 1-0 in their penultimate qualifier.


Group C: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Gabon, Mali

Qualified: None

Eliminated: Gabon and Mali

Highlights: Morocco is on top with just 1 game remaining, Ivory Coast is 2nd one point off the lead. Both sides meet each other on Nov 6 in what will act as a World Cup play-off.


Group D: Burkina Faso, Senegal, South Africa, Cape Verde

Qualified: None

Eliminated: None

Highlights: Senegal lead the group having played just 4 games and are 2 points ahead of second-placed Burkina Faso. Cape Verde are third with 6 points from 5 games while South Africa are bottom, though have 2 games to play.


Group E: Egypt, Uganda, Ghana, Congo

Qualified: Egypt

Eliminated: Congo, Ghana and Uganda

Highlights: Egypt qualified with a game to play

Asia (AFC)

The two group winners and two runners-up will qualify for Russia 2018. The third-place teams of each group advance to round four. The winner of the two third-placed teams will then advance to the intercontinental play-off.

Group A: Iran, South Korea, Syria, Uzbekistan, China, Qatar

Qualified: Iran, South Korea

Eliminated: China, Qatar, Syria, Uzbekistan

Highlights: Iran has qualified alongside South Korea. Syria reached the play-off, though lost the two-legged affair against Australia.


Group B: Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, UAE, Iraq, Thailand

Qualified: Japan, Saudi Arabia

Eliminated: UAE, Iraq and Thailand

Highlights: Japan and Saudi Arabia have made it, while Australia has reached the intercontinental play-off where they will play Honduras after beating Syria over two legs.


The top team in each group qualifies for Russia, with the eight best runners-up (from the nine groups) going into four play-offs. The four winners of the two-legged play-offs will qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, making a total of 13 teams.

Group A: France, Sweden, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Belarus

Qualified: France

Eliminated: Belarus, Bulgaria, Holland, Luxembourg

Highlights: France secured their ticket to the World Cup finals after they Belarus in the final game of their qualification, while Sweden took the play-off spot.


Group B: Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary

Qualified: Portugal

Eliminated: Andorra, Faroe Islands, Hungary, Latvia

Highlights: Portugal beat Switzerland to progress to the World Cup finals as winners of Group B, while the Swiss must go into the play-offs after finishing second on the same points as Fernando Santos’s side.


Group C: Germany, Northern Island, Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

Qualified: Germany

Eliminated: Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Norway, San Marino

Highlights: Germany qualified with 30 points having won all 10 of their games, while Northern Ireland claimed a play-off.


Group D: Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Wales, Austria, Georgia, Moldova

Qualified: Serbia

Eliminated: Austria, Georgia, Moldova, Wales

Highlights: Serbia finished top of their group with 19 points. Ireland is through to the play-offs.


Group E: Romania, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Denmark, Montenegro

Qualified: Poland

Eliminated: Armenia, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Romania

Highlights: Poland qualified with 25 points having dropped points in just two games while Denmark managed to take the play-off spot.


Group F: England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta

Qualified: England

Eliminated: Lithuania, Malta, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia

Highlights: England qualified for Russia following an unbeaten qualifying campaign in which they won eight games and drew twice.


Group G: Liechtenstein, Spain, Italy, Israel, Macedonia, Albania

Qualified: Spain

Eliminated: Albania, Israel, Liechtenstein, Macedonia

Highlights: Spain qualified with a game remaining while Italy claimed a play-off spot.


Group H: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus, Estonia, Gibraltar

Qualified: Belgium

Eliminated: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Estonia, Gibraltar

Highlights: Belgium were the first European team to qualify with 22 points from eight games while Greece guaranteed a play-off spot after beating Gibraltar 4-0 in their final game of their qualification campaign.


Group I: Turkey, Finland, Kosovo, Iceland, Croatia, Ukraine

Qualified: Iceland

Eliminated: Finland, Kosovo, Turkey, Ukraine

Highlights: Iceland qualified for their first ever World Cup by beating Kosovo – who have earned just one point. Croatia claimed a play-off spot.

North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF)

The top 3 qualify, while 4th place advances to an inter-confederation play-off.

Teams: Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, USA

Qualified: Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama

Eliminated: Trinidad and Tobago, USA

Highlights: Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama all qualified while the USA missed out following a defeat to Trinidad and Tobago in the final game of their qualification campaign. Honduras will play Australia in an intercontinental play-off for a place in the finals.

Oceania (OFC)

Maybe one will qualify. The winners of two three-team groups face each other in a two-legged tie. The winner of that will face the fifth-place team from CONMEBOL over two legs to decide who goes through.

Teams: New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea

Qualified:  New Zealand (to face 5th place CONMEBOL team)

Highlights: Group winners New Zealand and Solomon Islands played each other over two legs, with New Zealand winning. They will play Peru, the fifth-place CONMEBOL team, in November to determine who goes to Russia.

South America (CONMEBOL)

The top 4 teams from the single group of 10 will qualify, with the fifth-place team advancing to the intercontinental play-off (against New Zealand).

Teams: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela

Qualified: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay

Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Venezuela

Highlights: Brazil qualified after topping their table having lost just one game. Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay also qualified while Peru finished fifth to reach the intercontinental play-offs where they will play New Zealand.

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