Who needs what to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia , with
13 of the 32 nations already qualified :
– SOUTH AMERICA –
A World Cup without Lionel Messi. That is the very real prospect
facing Argentina , who face already- eliminated Ecuador at altitude
on Tuesday .
The Albiceleste drew 0 - 0 at home to Peru on Thursday to fall not
only out of the four automatic South American qualifying places
for next year ’ s finals in Russia but also the fifth place that offers a
playoff spot against New Zealand .
Sitting sixth , Argentina now almost certainly need to win their
final pool game in Ecuador or miss out entirely on the global
footballing showpiece .
Twice winners of the World Cup , Argentina were beaten finalists
at Brazil 2014 and lost in the final of the last two Copa America .
Only Brazil has so far qualified , with Uruguay, Chile , Colombia and
Peru all ahead of Argentina .
– EUROPE –
Cristiano Ronaldo’ s European champions Portugal face a game at
home against Switzerland on Tuesday that will see one of the two
teams seal the sole automatic qualifying spot.
The Swiss beat Portugal in their opening group match and are
unbeaten , as are Ronaldo’ s team since that defeat .
Belgium , England , Germany and Spain have all already qualified.
France will book their ticket with three points against Belarus ,
while the Netherlands, finalists in 2010 and semi- finalists four
years ago, see their hopes hanging by a thread as they bid to avoid
failing to qualify for successive major tournaments for the first
time since 1986 , having also missed out on Euro 2016 .
Trailing Sweden by three points , only a massive victory over the
Scandinavians in Amsterdam next week will save the three- time
World Cup runners - up.
– ASIA –
Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea have already qualified
But all eyes are on Syria whose World Cup dream was kept alive
on Thursday as they came from behind to draw 1 - 1 with Asian
champions Australia and set up a nerve- jangling play- off second
leg in Sydney on Tuesday .
The winner of that match will face the CONCACAF federation ’ s
fourth - placed team for a spot in Russia .
– AFRICA –
Gernot Rohr’ s Nigeria have booked their berth at next year ’ s
showpiece tournament , a 1 - 0 victory over Zambia on Saturday
seeing them take an unassailable lead in their qualifying group .
Final qualifiers take place in November , with Tunisia , Morocco
and Senegal having all made solid starts .
Three countries guaranteed not to be making the trip will be
Algeria , Cameroon and the Gabon team of Pierre - Emerick
– LATIN , NORTH AMERICA –
Costa Rica and Mexico will be heading to Russia .
A win for the United States against bottom of the hexagonal table
Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday will seal the Americans ’ ticket for
an eighth consecutive final — and even a point should do it.
Panama, beaten 4 - 0 by a Christian Pulisic - inspired US side last
time out , now look destined for a play - off match against either
Syria or Australia to land a World Cup place for the first time in
their history .