With plenty of countries from all over the world fighting tooth and nail to be a part of the World Cup in Brazil next year, let us take a look at the nations who have already qualified.
Brazil, as hosts, were the first team to be a part of the World Cup, but with barely a month of qualifying remaining, not even one-third of the slots for Brazil have been filled. After the latest round of qualifiers, a total of 10 teams have made it to Brazil, including the hosts, which still leaves 22 places, up for grabs.
Of the nine teams to have qualified for Brazil thus far, Asia leads the race with four teams whilst Europe and CONCACAF regions both have two teams each, which have qualified. Only one team from South America has qualified for Brazil so far, while no team from Africa has done so.
Japan were the first team to qualify for Brazil having won their Group registering five wins and only a single defeat. The Japanese are the joint top scorers in Asia, having netted 30 goals, with eight of them coming from their talisman Shinji Okazaki. Australia finished second behind Japan and lost just twice during the entire qualification process.
Iran sealed their berth with consummate ease, after topping their group. They had both the most potent attack with 30 goals and also the meanest defence having conceded just seven goals. Behind them, were the much-fancied South Koreans, who failed to light up the stage in Asia, but will be looking to correct that in Brazil.
Up until last night, these were the only four teams who had qualified for Brazil. But a frenetic match-day all over the world saw five teams from Europe, North and South America qualify for the World Cup.
Netherlands lead the European charge by beating Andorra 2-0 thanks to a brace from Robin van Persie. The Dutch, who have scored the third most number of goals in Europe and will be looking to take their rich vein of attacking form to Brazil.
After a 2-1 win over Czech Republic, Italy joined them by booking their place in Brazil. Whilst the Italians haven’t been at their best, they have certainly been effective as they are still unbeaten in the campaign with two games to go.
Over in CONCACAF, USA’s 2-0 win over Mexico meant that both themselves and Costa Rica are now through to the World Cup.
Whilst their 12-match winning streak was halted over the weekend by Costa Rica, they bounced back by beating their neighbour’s thanks mainly to their talisman, Clint Dempsey’s eight goals. Costa Rica on the other hand, have banked on their home fortress and their mean defense, which has only let in 5 goals so far, to book their ticket to Brazil.
Finally, Argentina became the first team from South America to qualify for the World Cup as their 5-2 thrashing of Paraguay sealed top spot in the CONMEBOL standings.
Led by Lionel Messi, the Argentineans are the top scorers with 30 goals, with 19 of them coming from the boots of Messi and Higuain, who have ten and nine goals each. They will surely be hoping that the duo continues their good form well into the World Cup next year.