The final round of World Cup qualifying is taking place, and 28 countries are already assured of their places alongside hosts Russia at next summer’s 32-team tournament.
Five-time winnersBrazilare there, as are defending championsGermany,plusArgentina, Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, England, France, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia,South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, TunisiaandUruguay.
So how did they get there? Who will be their star performers? And who are the coaches who masterminded their qualification?
Pedigree:Stanislav Cherchesov’s side will be the fourth Russia team to play at a World Cup – they first appeared at USA ’94 – although the Soviet Union had finished fourth in 1966.
|Spotlight on the hosts|
|All of Russia’s 2017 Confederations Cup squad played their club football in their homeland|
Key player:Veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has won more than 100 caps and his experience could be vital. The 31-year-old, who has spent his entire career at CSKA Moscow, is likely to captain the hosts.
Russia (Qualified as hosts)
CENTRAL, NORTH AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
Ireland v Denmark (0-0), Dublin
Australia v Honduras (0-0), Sydney
Peru v New Zealand (0-0), Lima