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 winners Brazil are there, as are defending champions Germany, 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, Tunisia and Uruguay.

So how did they get there? Who will be their star performers? And who are the coaches who masterminded their qualification?

Russia (hosts)

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.

EUROPE

Russia (Qualified as hosts)

France

Portugal

Germany

Serbia

Poland

England

Spain

Belgium

Iceland

Switzerland

Croatia

Sweden

SOUTH AMERICA

Brazil

Uruguay

Argentina

Colombia

AFRICA

Nigeria

Egypt

Morocco

Tunisia

Senegal

CENTRAL, NORTH AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN

Mexico

Costa Rica

Panama

ASIA

Iran

Japan

South Korea

Saudi Arabia

PLAYOFFS

Second legs

Nov 14

Ireland v Denmark (0-0), Dublin

Nov 15

Australia v Honduras (0-0), Sydney

Peru v New Zealand (0-0), Lima

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