CONMEBOL is fun, guys. Through 17 games only one team out of 10 — Brazil — has clinched its spot in the 2018 World Cup. Six teams still have a chance for the remaining three automatic qualifying berths, with one more team qualifying for the intercontinental playoff against New Zealand. Five of those teams control their own destiny. On Tuesday, all 10 teams play in five matches kicking off simultaneously with South American World Cup hopes on the line.
For anyone interested in geopolitics, Ukraine competing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia was an extremely enticing possibility. Croatia ended that possibility with a 2-0 win over Ukraine on the final day of UEFA Group I World Cup qualifying on Monday in Kiev. Croatia will play in a UEFA playoff in November for a chance to go to a fifth World Cup in six qualifying campaigns.
The Republic of Ireland shocked Wales 1-0 on Monday evening, securing their place in the European playoffs and ending the World Cup dream of the Welsh golden generation. The injured Gareth Bale could only watch from the stands as James McClean’s 57th minute strike hushed a previously electric Cardiff City Stadium and late forays forward proved fruitless for the Welsh.
Iceland's excellent showing at Euro 2016, the island's first major international tournament, turned out not to be a flash in the pan. Iceland beat Kosovo 2-0 Monday to ensure qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia by finishing at the top of UEFA Group I.
The country's transformation into a football nation to be taken seriously has been swift. Just five years ago they were ranked 131st in the world by FIFA.
Heading into Tuesday’s final matchday in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, there are still a number of scenarios that could confront the United States when the dust eventually settles. Most importantly, the USMNT controls their own destiny. However, things could get a bit dicey in the event of a draw or catastrophic loss. Let’s check it out!
What happens if…
The United States beats Trinidad & Tobago
Poland qualified for the 2018 World Cup with a 4-2 home victory over Montenegro on Sunday, a result that also eliminated Montenegro. More importantly, we saw why Poland World Cup aspirations are so high, as a fantastic team goal to take a 2-0 lead in the 16th minute showed why it’s going to be such a hard out next summer.
The USMNT are set to try to qualify for the 2018 World Cup against Trinidad & Tobago at a smaller venue than originally planned, and one thing we are happy to report is that everything is going EXTREMELY WELL with the playing surface.
Yes, NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY to report. NOTHING AT ALL.
It took Costa Rica all of 95 minutes to accomplish the feat, but in the end, Kendall Waston’s stoppage time equalizer secured the nation’s qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. It was another surreal moment in Los Ticos’ qualifying campaign, one that’s seen them defeat the United States twice and finish second behind only Mexico in CONCACAF’s Hexagonal round.
Mohamed Salah touched off an amazing celebration when he converted a penalty in extra time against Congo, sending Egypt to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Nigeria became the first African nation to secure their spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a 1-0 victory over Zambia on Saturday, successfully navigating the continent's group of death with a match to spare. Nigeria’s qualification comes at the expense of today’s opponents, Cameroon and Algeria.
Alex Iwobi has just scored this goal for Nigeria to put them 1-0 up - A win sends them to the World Cup. pic.twitter.com/5iYTtqN8eb