Road to Russia: If the 2018 World Cup began today, here are the 32 teams in

Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has been underway since March of 2015. As we move closer to the start of the tournament, we're reaching the final stretch of qualifiers before learning all 32 participants. As of Oct. 10, there are 23 teams that have punched tickets to the World Cup:

  • Russia (host)
  • Brazil (CONMEBOL)
  • Iran (AFC)
  • Japan (AFC)
  • Mexico (CONCACAF)
  • Belgium (UEFA)
  • South Korea (AFC)
  • Saudi Arabia (AFC)
  • Germany (UEFA)
  • England (UEFA)
  • Spain (UEFA)
  • Nigeria (CAF)
  • Costa Rica (CONCACAF)
  • Poland (UEFA)
  • Egypt (CAF)
  • Serbia (UEFA)
  • Iceland (UEFA)
  • France (UEFA)
  • Portugal (UEFA)
  • Uruguay (CONMEBOL)
  • Argentina (CONMEBOL)
  • Colombia (CONMEBOL)
  • Panama (CONCACAF)

If the World Cup began today, here are the teams that would be in:

Host

Russia: Qualified as the host of the tournament.


Africa

CAF qualifying berths: 5. The final round of CAF qualifiers started back in October of 2016 and end November of 2017. Here are the group winners currently in the qualification zone:    

Tunisia: Group A leaders with 13 points. 
Nigeria: Clinched Group B on Oct. 7 with a 1-0 win over Zambia. 
Morocco: Group C leaders with 9 points. 
Senegal: Group D leaders with 8 points. 
Egypt: Clinched Group E on Oct. 8 with a 2-1 win over Congo.


Asia

AFC qualifying berths: 4.5. The final round of AFC qualifiers started back in September of 2016 and end September of 2017. Here are the top four teams (two group leaders and two runners-up) in the stage currently in the qualification zone:  

Iran: Clinched Group A on June 12 with a 2-0 win over Uzbekistan. 
Japan: Clinched Group B on Aug. 31 with a 2-0 win over Australia.
South Korea: Clinched second in Group A.
Saudi Arabia: Clinched second in Group B.


Europe

UEFA qualifying berths: 14. The qualifiers started back in September of 2016 and end November of 2017. Here are the group winners currently in the qualification zone:  

France: Clinched Group A  on Oct. 10 with a 2-1 win over Belarus. 
Portugal: Clinched Group B on Oct. 10 with a 2-0 over Switzerland. 
Germany: Clinched Group C on Oct. 5 with a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland. 
Serbia: Clinched Group D on Oct. 9 with a 1-0 win over Georgia. 
Poland: Clinched Group E on Oct. 8 with a 4-2 win over Montenegro.
England: Clinched Group F on Oct. 5 with a 1-0 win over Slovenia.
Spain: Clinched Group G on Oct. 6 with a 3-0 win over Albania. 
Belgium: Clinched Group H on Sept. 3 with a 2-1 win over Greece. 
Iceland: Clinched Group I on Oct. 9 with a 2-0 win over Kosovo. 

The eight best runner-ups will be paired into four matchups and play a two-leg playoff round. Here are the eight best runner-ups: 

Switzerland: Second in Group B with 24 points. 
Italy: Second in Group G with 23 points. 
Denmark: Second in Group E with 20 points.  
Croatia: Second in Group I with 20 points. 
Sweden: Second in Group A with 19 points.    
Northern Ireland: Second in Group C with 19 points.
Greece: Second in Group H with 19 points.  
Republic of Ireland: Second in Group D with 19 points.   

North, Central America, Caribbean 

CONCACAF qualifying berths: 3.5. The final round of CONCACAF qualifiers started back in November of 2016 and end October of 2017. Here are the top three teams in the hexagonal group stage currently in the qualification zone:  

Mexico: Clinched group on Sept. 1 with a 1-0 win over Panama.
Costa Rica: Clinched second place in group on Oct. 7 with 1-1 draw against Honduras.
Panama: Clinched third place in group on Oct. 10 with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica.

South America

CONMEBOL qualifying berths: 4.5. South American qualifiers started back in October of 2015 and end October of 2017. Here are the top three four teams in the group stage currently in the qualification zone:  

Brazil: Clinched group on March 28 with a 3-0 win over Paraguay. 
Uruguay: Clinched second place in group on Oct. 10 with a 4-2 win over Bolivia.
Argentina: Clinched third place in group on Oct. 10 with a 3-1 win over Ecuador.
Colombia: Clinched fourth place in group on Oct. 10 with a 1-1 draw vs. Peru.

Inter-confederation playoffs 

Australia vs. Honduras (CONCACAF fourth place)
New Zealand vs. Peru (CONMEBOL fifth place)

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