“I cried a few tears. Look at some of the older players who felt that this was the last chance to make it to a World Cup - and now we did it. It’s indescribable. We have many heroes tonight.”
Sweden head coach Janne Andersson * talks about the significance of shocking Italy to qualify for the FIFA WorldCup*
“I’m not sorry for myself but all of the Italian football movement. We failed with our aim, which could have also been really important on a social level. This is the only regret that I have, even if my last competitive game coincides with failure to qualify for the World Cup. We have pride and strength, we’re stubborn and after the tough falls we find the way to get back up again. I leave a national team with good guys and they’ll speak for themselves, [goalkeepers] Gianluigi Donnarumma and Mattia Perin won’t make me feel regret. Sport teaches you to win and lose together, to share the good and the bad.”
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon speaks after Gli Azzurri failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time since 1958, after being defeated by Sweden in the play-offs
“This squad has what it takes to achieve great things in the coming World Cup. We are not going to the World Cup just to participate, we are ambitious on how far we can go and we believe we are ready to face any team.”
Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary talks about the country’s ambitions at next summer’s World Cup
El-Hadary *also took to Twitter to send encouragement to fellow goalkeeper Buffon after Italy's exit: "I cannot find the right words ... My only consolation is that I will be there and try to make up for your absence. All the World Cup goalkeepers will play for you." *
“He was a top player who won a lot of things, so when he’s saying good things about you it really stands out. When you’re young you watch clips of the best players in the world and try to emulate them. With Ronaldo, I liked how he always played free. No matter where he was playing, he went out there and expressed himself. When you do that, that’s when you play your best football.”
*Marcus Rashford *on watching the Brazilian Ronaldo growing up, speaking with The Guardian
“Qualification is not really a surprise for us. It’s always been a goal for us, qualifying for a big tournament. We don’t have a Neymar or a Philippe Coutinho in our team, just players who work together with a strong sense of a collective. And it was that spirit that allowed us to beat England at the Euros and will carry us even further.”
Defender Hordur Magnusson talks with Goal about Iceland qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in their history
“I need to go to Manchester and see a Gabriel Jesus goal. Phwoar, what a player - strong, fast, a big hope for Brazil.”
Brazil forward Robinho tells The Daily Mail about his admiration for his fellow countryman Gabriel Jesus, who is playing for his former club Manchester City
“Everyone wants to come up against Messi.”
Tunisia midfielder *Ghilane Chaalani *speaks about his Final Draw hopes after helping the Eagles of Carthage book their ticket to Russia 2018
“And I am sure of this: The path to the U.S. winning a World Cup — it doesn’t start with having “more talent.” It starts with developing the talent that we already have, in the right way.”
Borussia Dortmund and USA attacking midfielder Christian Pulisic reflects on the Stars and Stripes’ failure to qualify for Russia 2018, writing in The Players’ Tribune
“When I was young, I would tell everyone that I am going to be a big player for a big club and they would laugh at me. It wasn’t because they didn’t think I was talented, but it seemed impossible to go from Sedhiou to the top. But I always knew I had it in me and that whatever it took, I was going to make it happen."
Having helped Senegal qualify for the World Cup, Sadio Mane speaks with Goal about his journey to the top
“To help my country qualify for four World Cups is something I will be proud of when I get older...even older. I feel like a young kid. I know I'm 38 next month, but it's my job to put my body on the line for this team. We wanted to show what we stand for - not just for the last two-and-a-half years of qualifying, but for the past four years. I would've done anything to be part of this group and I will do anything to stay a part of it. I am indebted to this country for allowing me to follow my dreams and do what I love.”
Australia’s *Tim Cahill *speaks after the Socceroos booked their ticket to Russia 2018 , defeating Honduras 3-1 on aggregate in their intercontinental play-off
"I think England must have a chance because the players are really good. There's a great generation of players at different ages and with different qualities. They have good experience at club level, playing in the Premier League and plenty of them play in the Champions League too. England have great potential to do something important. In South America, there are a couple of important teams. In Europe the same three or four so I can't believe next summer we will have a huge surprise."
Manchester United manager *Jose Mourinho *gives some of his thoughts on who will contend for the FIFA World Cup next summer in Russia
“I believe Jogo Bonito is back but more importantly the happiness and confidence is back for the players. The environment that Tite has made for them to be creative, to express themselves and to do what they like is the most important factor for getting confidence back in this team.”
Former Brazil midfielder Ronaldinho tells Goal that he thinks the five-time World Cup winners are back to their best
“I was surprised, Ireland gave a lot of space in the centre of midfield for Eriksen. Thank you very much for giving him space. He is always fantastic on the ball, works hard for the team, an inspiration for all the lads around him. That's the difference between the sides. He's in the top ten players in the world.”
Denmark head coach Age Hareide speaks after securing World Cup qualification with a 5-1 win in Dublin thanks to a Christian Eriksen hat-trick
“He’s easily the best central midfielder in the world. Easily. He would play in a World XI, no doubt. I know there are players like Casemiro, Sergio Busquets but he’s better than them. He knows the game, when to stay, when to run and how to run well. He reads it so well he knows what is going to happen before he gets there. That way he controls it with his incredible power and finesse. Normally players like that aren’t as good on the ball as Kante is. It’s incredible that he went to Leicester and nobody saw him until they won the league! You do what you do, managers do what they do but how didn’t any scouts see him?"
Former Uruguay midfielder Gus Poyet sings the praises of Chelsea and France midfielder N’Golo Kante, speaking with Standard Sport
"We waited more than 35 years to be again at a World Cup. Thank you warriors for giving us this joy! We will all celebrate responsibly... Go Peru!"
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru sends a message of congratulations to the national team after they sealed the 32nd and final spot at Russia 2018 next summer