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. On November 15, 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.
Neither Burkina Faso nor Cape Verde Islands had a chance of qualifying for Russia 2018 after Senegal wrapped up their group earlier this international break, so their World Cup qualifier Tuesday was really more of a glorified friendly. That's a good thing for Cape Verde's goalkeeper, who produced a pretty interesting howler in first half extra time to give Burkina Faso their first of four goals.