Russia 2018: Who can qualify this week?
With Japan, Mexico and Belgium having qualified over recent days, and Brazil, Iran and hosts Russia already assured of their spots, six of the 32 berths at next year’s FIFA World Cup™ have now been allocated.
That leaves 26 still to play for, and a few more of those could be chalked off over the next couple of days. Only in South America, where the gap between those trailing the Brazilians remains too tight for anything to be decided, and in Oceania, where an intercontinental play-off spot is the target, is direct passage to Russia not on the table this week.
Here, FIFA.com looks at the teams who could, with the right results, be on the verge of booking their spots at Russia 2018.
AFC *Already qualified* Iran, Japan
Who can qualify this week? Group A Korea Republic are in pole position and will qualify with a victory in Uzbekistan. A draw will also be sufficient if Syria **fail to win in Iran. The Uzbeks themselves are still in contention should they come out on top against the Taeguk Warriors, while beating Iran could take the Syrians through depending on the result in Tashkent.
Group B A superior goal difference means that Saudi Arabia will go through if their result at home to Japan matches Australia’s against Thailand. United Arab Emirates also have an outside chance but would need both the Saudis and Socceroos to lose and to bridge the significant goal difference gap that currently exists.
CONCACAF *Already qualified *Mexico
Who can qualify this week? A win at home to Mexico and Costa Rica would be through regardless of results elsewhere. A draw may also be sufficient, but would depend on results going their way in the Panama-Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras-USA matches.
Ranking criteria in 2018 preliminary groups a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches b) goal difference in all group matches c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned For the full list of criteria, please view the official Russia 2018 Regulations