FOOTBALL THOUGHTS 

Introduction: Road to the World Cup #Russia2018

by Eric Ananda

The last time the world gathered for the global football extravaganza, it was in the Amazon in 2014. The beautiful cities of Porto Alegre, Sao Paolo, Belo Horizonte and the jungle in Manaus all played a great part in the beautiful spectacle of football. The tournament in Brazil will be remembered for causing Kenyan’s sleepless nights as the games were played in ungodly hours. People were awake as late as 1am to catch the games.

The hosts Brazil ended the tournament in fourth place but nothing can take away the pain of being whitewashed 7-1 by eventual tournament winners Germany. The Los Blancos of Argentina couldn’t find the spark required or even inspiration by their captain and talisman Lionel Messi as Andre Schuller set up Mario Goetze late in extra time scoring the goal that gave Germany the win. This was the Die Mannschaft’s 4th World title.

Almost four years later, we have the privilege of sharing with you the stories of the beautiful game of football; this time emphasis on the Russia 2018 tournament that begins on June 14th 2018 at the Luzhniski Stadium in Moskva, Russia. The hosts will be joined by 31 other teams including the defending champions and several other debutants and nations making a comeback into the global showbiz.

On this introduction edition, we will be glad to share with you each of these teams and from what Confederation they come from, together with the seeded pots for the draw to be held on 1st December 2017. We will then continue our analysis, coverage and give you all the necessary information even as we countdown to Russia 2018. Buckle up and sit tight as we take you through the 32 teams that have qualified for the World Cup.

Our coverage per confederation starts with

  1. Asia Football Confederation. (AFC)

AFC is allocated 4.5 slots (4 automatic and 1 inter-continental playoff with CONCACAF 4th placed team). The four teams that advanced directly were.

  1. Iran
  2. South Korea
  3. Japan
  4. Saudi Arabia.
  5. Australia (Had to beat Syria in a Home and away fourth round match before beating Honduras in the Inter-continental play off)

It is also worth noting that the best placed finish by any Asian side was in 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup as co-hosts South Korea finished fourth.

2. Confederation of African Football (CAF)

CAF is allocated 5 slots in the World Cup. The five teams that qualified for the World Cup are as follows.

  • The Super Eagles of Nigeria.
  • The Lions of Teranga from Senegal
  • The Atlas Lions from Morocco
  • The Pharaohs of Egypt.
  • The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.

A fun fact is that

  • The Atlas Lions of Morocco are returning to the World Cup under the Tutelage of Herve Renard who was previously the coach of Ivory Coast and Zambia (Won the African Cup of Nations with the respective nations). He secured Morocco’s passage into the World Cup at the expense of Ivory Coast following a 2-0 away win in Abidjan
  • Senegal Coach Aliou Cisse was the Captain of the Teranga Lions when they played in their first world cup in 2002.
  • It has been a while since the Pharaohs of Egypt appeared on the global show piece.

This is also the first time that the continent is represented by three North African Sides in the tournament.

3. Confederation of North, Central and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)

CONCACAF is a mouthful to be honest. What we know is that they have 3.5 slots played in a very confusing manner. We shouldn’t even go through that. The three teams that qualified are:

  1. Mexico
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Panama
  4. Not USA

Something to note is that:

  • Panama are making their debut in the World Cup.
  • USA didn’t qualify
  • Honduras lost their chance when they were defeated by Australia in the Inter Continental Play-Off

4. South America Football Federation (CONMEBOL)

CONMEBOL is one of the trickiest qualifying regions in any qualifiers for the World Cup. The reason for this is the home and away ties that one has to play. Secondly, going to play in the high altitude of Bolivia has been something teams have to adapt to.

Continental speaking, this region has three world cup winners who have won it more than once. 4.5 slots are allocated to the continent. The qualified teams are as follows:

  1. Brazil
  2. Argentina
  3. Uruguay
  4. Colombia
  5. Peru (who advanced after beating New Zealand in the Inter-Confederation Play-Offs)

It is worth noting that Chile and Paraguay miss out on this edition of the World Cup, with Argentina surviving a scare before securing qualification on the last day of match day.

5. UEFA

This has to be the region with the most number of slots in the Cup. We have never understood why this is the case. However it is also the most grueling as a big shot always ends up missing out on direct qualification. The region is allocated 13 Slots with Russia as the hosts making it 14 as the total number of teams from the confederation in the 21st Edition of the Fifa World Cup.

The teams that have qualified are as follows.

  1. Russia (Hosts)
  2. France
  3. Portugal
  4. Germany
  5. Serbia
  6. Poland
  7. England
  8. Spain
  9. Belgium
  10. Iceland

The teams from 2-10 all qualified as the group winners of the respective qualification groups. The following is the list of the teams that qualified from the play-offs.

  1. Switzerland
  2. Croatia
  3. Denmark
  4. Sweden

The biggest casualties in this round were Italy, Netherlands and Wales. It would be weird not to see the likes of Gareth Bale, Arjen Robben, Gigi Buffon, Andrea Balzeretti, Aaron Ramsey in the World Cup. Did your team make it? How far do you project your favorite team will go? Talk to us on the comment section below.

 

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  1. […] not taking part in the tournament next year. Having done an introduction to the World cup here, let us look at the […]

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