2018 World Cup qualification

Discussion in 'Soccer' started by Giles Daldanus, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. Giles Daldanus

    Giles Daldanus Guru

    Aug 14, 2011
    I may be jumping the gun in opening this thread (the UEFA qualifying matches will begin after Euro 2016 has concluded), but the non-European qualifying zones are gradually entering a decisive phase - for example, AFC countries such as Australia and Japan are aware that they will soon have to put the pedal to the metal. I know that some of you follow the South American and North American qualifiers as well. Colombia and the United States currently have their backs against the wall after a disappointing (for their standards) starts to their respective campaigns.

    Which European sides may surprise the naysayers and qualify for the 2018 World Cup? Do you think that any countries will be making their debuts on the biggest stage of all? I think that Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Belarus, Guatemala, Panama, Uzbekistan, Oman, and Zambia are some of the strongest teams to have never reached the final stages of a World Cup.

    I have the feeling that Slovakia and Northern Ireland will continue to impress and will make it to the finals - they didn't get the short straw in the draw and everything seems to be clicking quite nicely together for them (based on the way in which they qualified for Euro 2016 and their results in friendlies). Iceland would have been one of my dark horses, but they are in a very tough group, so may have a hard time building upon their excellent performance in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

    Some of the players to watch are Eric Dier (England), Aleksandar Tonev (Bulgaria), Paco Alcacer (Spain), and Jonas Hector (Germany).

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