Men's World Cup
The speculation began even before Sweden beat Italy to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and once that final whistle blew everyone wanted to know what was going through the mind of one Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The list of the 32 nations competing in the World Cup was finalized on Wednesday night. That also meant the list of 179 nations not competing in the World Cup was also finalized. While 15 percent of the countries who compete in FIFA will be preparing for the World Cup draw on Dec. 1, the remaining countries, constituting most of the world’s population, will be wondering “What if…” for the next four years.
It’s moments like these that make you fall in love with soccer all over again. Moments like these that remind you of the emotional attachment billions of people around the world have to a simple, beautiful game.
Peru hasn’t been to a World Cup since 1982, but all that will change after La Blanquirroja beat New Zealand 2-0 in the second leg of their World Cup intercontinental qualifying playoff on Wednesday evening. The 2-0 aggregate victory sent Peru to the 2018 World Cup, ending a 36-year wait.
And so it’s settled. Last night, Peru claimed the final spot in the 32-team field for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, bringing us to the final event before the June 14 kick off at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow: the draw to determine the eight groups of four for the finals.
The eyes of the footballing world are set on Lima, Peru, today with only one spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia still up for grabs. That ticket will be punched tonight when Peru hosts Oceania representative New Zealand at 9:15 ET on beIN SPORTS.
After a 0-0 first leg draw in Wellington, Peru (the 10th ranked side on the planet) will be heavy favorites in the return leg, but New Zealand (ranked 122nd) know they are just one vital away goal from causing los Incas all sorts of trouble.
The fallout from Italy’s shock elimination from the 2018 World Cup at the hands of Sweden has been largely centered around two things: the ongoing Italian footballing apocalypse and the minuscule possibility of 36-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning to the fold for Zweden.
Australia captain, defensive midfielder and rugged bearded hero Mile Jedinak had the game of his life, scoring a hat trick to propel the Socceroos to the 2018 World Cup with a 3-1 defeat of Honduras on Wednesday in Sydney. Jedinak scored on a free kick and two penalty kicks before Honduras’ Alberth Elis scored a consolation goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. The first leg of the intercontinental playoff was a 0-0 draw in Honduras.