Finally, qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup has come to a close, as all 32 places available for the competition have been taken by 4 Asian teams, 13 European teams, 4 North American teams, 6 South American teams, and 5 African teams. A few moments ago Uruguay secured their qualification with a 5-0 aggregate win over Jordan to take up the final place and book their tickets to Brazil. We know how many teams have qualified, but who is actually there? Below is a break-down of who managed to make it through to next year’s competition
Qualified: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Cameroon
The first African side to secure qualification was Nigeria, who managed a 4-1 aggregate victory over Ethiopia. Then followed Ivory Coast and Cameroon, both scoring 4 goals overall to see off Senegal and Tunisia respectively. Tuesday 19th November saw Algeria and Ghana qualify when Algeria went through on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw with Burkina Faso, and Ghana win 7-3 on aggregate to defeat Egypt. There is much doubt already that these teams will cause too much trouble, but come 12th June 2014 the West African nations will not be letting anyone have it easy.
Qualified: Japan, Iran, Australia, South Korea
All Asian teams had qualified by June 2013, ages before the rest. Japan became the first nation to qualify for the World Cup (apart from hosts Brazil) after they won their group rather easily. Then followed Iran, Australia and South Korea. Jordan defeated Uzbekistan in a play-off, but were easily defeated by Uruguay and did not progress to Brazil 2014.
Qualified: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, England, Spain, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Portugal, Croatia, Greece
This confederation has the largest number of teams qualified with 13 nations representing Europe at the World Cup. The biggest shock is the fact that Bosnia-Herzegovina qualified, but with the likes of Edin Dzeko it was never impossible. The Netherlands and Italy were the first European nations to qualify for the World Cup after securing top spot in their groups by 10th September. After them Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Bosnia, England and Spain qualified when they won their groups. Portugal overcame Sweden in a tense 4-2 aggregate win while France, Greece and Croatia won their play-offs to put those 4 sides through.
North & Central America and Caribbean
Qualified: Costa Rica, United States, Honduras, Mexico
The USA, Costa Rica and Honduras all qualified as the top three of the final CONCACAF group. America and Costa Rica both secured 1st and 2nd on 10th September leaving Mexico and Honduras battling out for third. After a 2-2 draw with Jamaica Honduras took the final automatic qualification spot and therefore Mexico needed to play an intercontinental play-off against New Zealand. A whooping 9-3 aggregate win was more than enough to send El Tricolor through to Brazil 2014.
New Zealand completed the Oceanic qualifying stages with no real difficulty but needed to face a tough Mexico side in an intercontinental play-off. This Mexico side really did turn out to be tough and the scoreline suggested this: 9-3 on aggregate. Sadly, no one will be representing Oceania at the World Cup next year.
Qualified: Argentina, Brazil (hosts), Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Chile
4 years before qualifying even started, Brazil were announced as the first team to ‘qualify’ for the World Cup as they were chosen as hosts. 6 years and a couple months later Argentina were guaranteed a top 4 finish in the CONMEBOL group and with this came tickets to World Cup 2014. Few weeks later Colombia, Chile and Ecuador qualified, leaving Uruguay out of the top four. This meant that they would face Jordan in an intercontinental play-off, much like how New Zealand had to face Mexico. The match ended a few moments ago with Uruguay securing qualification and tickets for the very short trip to Brazil much to the despair of the Jordan team.
So there we have a roundup of who’s qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and some of the unfortunate nations who were knocked out. 207 teams from 6 FIFA Confederations took part in a total of 816 games and finally it has been narrowed down to the last 32. 203 days await the start of the tournament; a time to cut down teams and pin down the best tactics and players. It will be a nervy 7 months for both the managers and the players but until 12th June 2014 all we can do is wait and wait and wait….