5 FIFA World Cup qualifying surprises
The FIFA World Cup has seen many surprise packages over the years from South Korea reaching the semi-finals on home soil to Senegal defeating the defending champions France at the opening game of the 2002 World Cup. They become seen as underdog stories when a little team advances deep into stages of a tournament they have never stepped into before.
Not just at the finals of a World Cup do we see dramatic moments fans will remember for years to come; it has also been seen in the qualification stages.We are learning irregular participants like Saudi Arabia and Burkina Faso are in pole position to catch a flight to Russia next summer.
We're also seeing shocks of big teams struggling in their groups and running out of games to turn it all around. Teams such as Argentina, The Netherlands, Chile and USA may currently not be playing in Russia which could mean no second chance for Lionel Messi to get his hands on the World Cup.
Which nations have grabbed the headlines by performing the impossible?
On Tuesday night, Syria qualified for a historic play-off spot to determine whether their destiny will take them all the way to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Qasioun Eagles drew 2-2 with Iran to keep their first ever World Cup appearance hopes alive after a last minute equaliser from Omar Al Somah. Syria will now face Australia in a play-off in October before another two legged match against a Concacaf side the following month, should they beat the Aussies.
With everything going on back in Syria, it is truly seen as one of the most miraculous stories for a nation and for the world to embrace. Australia's history of qualifying to World Cup finals is very consistent and will be placed as favourites ahead of their meeting with Syria but up against a side with the motivation of nothing to lose, you just never know what the potential to this Syrian side can be.
Whether Syria make it to the World Cup finals or not it sure has been a memorable and cheerful journey for the footballing world to witness.