FIFA World Cup: Road to Russia 2018 begins with qualifying draws
Santino Honasan on Jul 26, 2015 03:25 PM
(Photo via Associated Press)
The road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia began last Saturday as the qualifying draw for Africa, Oceana, the Americas, and Europe were drawn.
The Asian qualifiers are well underway, with our own Philippine Azkals already off to a hot 2-0 start with wins over Yemen and Bahrain. They are set to take on Uzbekistan in early September.
Here are the draw results:
The nine group winners qualify for the World Cup, while eight runners-up with the best records head to play-offs. Russia will automatically qualify as they are the host nation. Qualifiers begin September 4, 2016.
Group A – Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxemborg
Group B – Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra
Group C – Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino
Group D – Wales, Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia
Group E – Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan
Group F – England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta
Group G – Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, FYR Macedonia, Liechtenstein
Group H – Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus
Group I – Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland
The winners from round two will be divided into five groups of four, serving as the qualifying tournament. The group winners qualify for the World Cup. Round one begins October 5, 2015. Round two begins November 9, 2015.
Round One Matches
Somalia vs. Niger (winner plays Cameroon in Round Two)
South Sudan vs. Mauritania (winner plays Tunisia in Round Two)
Gambia vs. Namibia (winner plays Guinea in Round Two)
Sao Tomo e Principe vs. Ethiopia (winner plays Congo in Round Two)
Chad vs. Sierra Leone (winner plays Egypt in Round Two)
Comoros vs. Lesotho (winner plays Ghana in Round Two)
Djibouti vs. Swaziland (winner plays Nigeria in Round Two)
Eritrea vs. Botswana (winner plays Mali in Round Two)
Seychelles vs. Burundi (winner plays Congo DPR in Round Two)
Liberia vs. Guinea-Bissau (winner plays Ivory Coast in Round Two)
Central African Republic vs. Madagascar (winner plays Senegal in Round Two)
Mauritius vs. Kenya (winner plays Cape Verde in Round Two)
Tanzania vs. Malawi (winner plays Algeria in Round Two)
Round Two Matches
Sudan vs. Zambia
Libya vs. Rwanda
Morocco vs. Equatorial Guinea
Mozambique vs. Gabon
Benin vs. Burkina Faso
Togo vs. Uganda
Angola vs. South Africa
Three groups of four teams, the top two teams from each group will enter a six-team tournament. The top-three teams qualify for the World Cup, while the fourth goes into a play-off. Group Stages begin November 7, 2015.
Group A – Honduras, Mexico, [winner of Curacao vs. El Salvador], [winner of Canada vs. Belize]
Group B – Panama, Costa Rica, [winner of Grenada vs. Haiti], [winner of Jamaica vs. Nicaragua]
Group C – Trinidad and Tobago, USA, winner of St. Vincent & Grenadines vs. Aruba, winner of Antigua & Barbuda vs. Guatemala
Top three teams from Group A and Group B move on to a third round made up of two groups with three teams each. Top team from each group play off, and the winners qualify for an inter-continental play-off. Round one group stage begins August 31, 2015. Round two group stage begins May 28, 2016.
Group A – [winner of round one group stage between American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa, and Tonga], Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Tahiti
Group B – New Zealand, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands
Top four teams from group stage qualify for the World Cup. Fifth placer heads to a play-off. Qualifiers begin September 4, 2016.
Group Stage – Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay
For full reference, here’s the bracket for the ongoing Asian qualifiers:
Group winners and top four runners-up qualify for the World Cup. Qualifiers ongoing.
Group A – East Timor, Malaysia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Group B – Australia, Bangladesh, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
Group C – Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, Maldives, Qatar
Group D – Guam, India, Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan
Group E – Afghanistan, Cambodia, Japan, Singapore, Syria
Group F – Iraq, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Group G – Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Myanmar, South Korea
Group H – Bahrain, North Korea, Philippines, Uzbekistan, Yemen