THE United States did not qualify for the World Cup for the first time in more than three decades. There are, however, 23 countries that have clinched spots and a host of others still alive in last-chance qualifiers.
Here’s the list of countries that have qualified for the 2018 World Cup: Russia (host), Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, England, Spain, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Poland, Egypt, Iceland, Serbia, Portugal, France, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Panama.
Three African groups have yet to be decided. Tunisia leads Group A with 13 points. To advance, the Democratic Republic of Congo (10 points) will need to beat Guinea in November, have Tunisia lose to Libya and also make up a two-goal deficit in differential.
Morocco (9 points) and Ivory Coast (8) will vie for Group C. Morocco has not allowed a goal through its first five matches and has a plus-nine goal differential. The two countries will play on November 11 in Ivory Coast.
Senegal (8 points) leads Group D even though it has only played four matches; its 2-1 loss to South Africa in November 2016 will be replayed November 10, 2017. Burkina Faso and Cape Verde both have six points.
Elsewhere, six additional spots will be determined by qualifiers. Here’s the list of European teams that will play home-and-home playoffs: Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Greece and Republic of Ireland.
World Cup play-off draw
Northern Ireland versus Switzerland/Croatia versus Greece (November 9 and 12), Sweden versus Italy (November 10 and 13) and Denmark versus Republic of Ireland (November 11 and 14).
Australia and Honduras will twice go head-to-head between November 6-14 for one qualifying spot, and New Zealand and Peru will also vie for one World Cup berth.