World Cup Russia 2018: Who has qualified? Which big teams failed? Who is still in contention?

Joe Hall
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Trinidad & Tobago v United States  - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
The USA failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 (Source: Getty)

Over half of the competing nations at next year's World Cup have been confirmed after a dramatic final day of the international break saw Lionel Messi rescue Argentina and the USA crash out.

Russia 2018 faced the very real prospect of being without the world's best player before Messi scored a hat-trick against Ecuador to clinch qualification for Argentina. It's now been 11 months since anyone other than the Barcelona man scored for Argentina in a competitive game.

Yet there are a number of regional heavyweights who will be staying at home this summer. The USA failed to qualify for the first time in more than three decades after they failed to beat Trinidad & Tobago while rivals in the central American Concacaf division, Panama and Honduras, won and drew respectively.

Read more: Total failure as Holland miss out on qualification for 2018 World Cup

They join Ghana, Holland and Chile on the list of usual World Cup attendees who won't be in Russia. Asian champions Australia, meanwhile, needed extra-time to beat Syria in a play-off on Tuesday but still have to beat Honduras next month in a further two-legged tie in order to qualify.

Panama, who qualified for their first-ever World Cup with a late 2-1 win over Costa Rica, declared a national holiday to mark the occasion.


Lithuania v England - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Cheer up, Harry - England are in Russia (Source: Getty)

Already qualified

  • Germany
  • Spain
  • England
  • Portugal
  • Serbia
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Iceland
  • Poland

In the play-offs

  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Northen Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Croatia


That man again: Australia relied on 38-year-old Tim Cahill to pull them through (Source: Getty)

Already qualified

  • Japan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Iran

In the play-offs

  • Australia (Through to inter-confederation play-off vs Honduras after beating Syria 3-2 on aggregate in the Asian play-off)

South America

Crisis averted: Messi's hat-trick ensured Russia 2018 will feature Argentina (Source: Getty)

Already qualified

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Uruguay
  • Colombia

In the play-offs

  • Peru (will play New Zealand in the inter-confederation play-offs)

North + Central America

Celebrations in Panama were wild as the country reached their first-ever World Cup (Source: Getty)

Already qualified

  • Mexico
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama

In the play-offs

  • Honduras (will play Australia in the inter-confederation play-offs)


Egypt's El-Hadary celebrates Egypt's crucial victory over Congo (Source: Getty)

Already qualified

  • Nigeria
  • Egypt

​Still in contention

  • Tunisia
  • DR Congo
  • Ivory Coast
  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cape Verde
  • South Africa


2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier - New Zealand v Solomon Islands
Burnley's Chris Wood topped the scoring charts in Oceania (Source: Getty)

In the play-offs

  • New Zealand (will play Peru in the inter-confederation play-offs)

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