2018 World Cup Qualification: Asia
With Russia qualifying as hosts, 207 other nations are all still in with a chance of filling the remaining 31 places at the 2018 World Cup. At least until early next week that is. The qualifying rounds in Asia have started this week with 12 teams hoping to avoid the ignominy of being eliminated from the competition more than three years before it actually kicks off. The lowest-ranked 12 sides from the Asian football federation (the AFC) are currently participating in the first round of Asian qualification. The games are played over two legs (home and away) with the winner progressing to the second round where they will be joined by 34 other countries and drawn into eight groups of five teams. Of course, the losers from these six first round matches will be out of the World Cup.
The six first-leg matches from the first round produced some remarkable results with FIFA’s lowest-ranked side Bhutan defeating Sri Lanka 1-0 away from home, while Timor Leste thrashed Mongolia 4-1 for their first ever World Cup win and Brunei also claimed their first ever victory with a 1-0 win in Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). India also managed to win their home leg (2-0 against Nepal) and should make it through to the next round along with Yemen and Cambodia. The second-leg matches take place on Tuesday when for six countries their World Cup dream will be over.
2018 World Cup Qualification: The Rest
The next region to begin qualification will be the CONCACAF section (North and Central America) with the first round starting at the end of this month. Like their Asian counterparts they will have a qualifying round to determine which 7 teams will make it through to the second round; meaning we will be saying goodbye to either the Bahamas or Bermuda as they face off on March 25th. The Oceania qualification campaign begins in June while both the African (CAF) and the South American (CONMEBOL) sections begin in October. Europe will probably begin at the same time though its federation (UEFA) have yet to decide on the official start time.
- FIFA’s page on the Asia qualifiers
- Read the Guardian report on the first set of World Cup qualifiers here
- Wikipedia’s page on the qualification process
still in with a chance: There is still a possibility of making it
the ignominy: The shame
being eliminated from: Knocked out of
kicks off: Starts
thrashed: Heavily defeated
claimed their first ever victory: Won their first match
Like their Asian counterparts: Similarly – the same as other teams from Asia
to determine: To decide
will make it through to: Progress; qualify
face off: Play against each other