2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifying

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A soccer ball in middle of a soccer stadium.

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup a little over half a year away, many fans around the world are anticipating the qualification of their national teams. This year’s qualifiers, like always, have been full of emotion, stunning goals and great rivalries. As qualification comes to a close, some teams are excited to be able to perform in front of millions in Russia, where the world cup will take place, whereas others are feeling dejected and disappointed at failing to even qualify.

There were a plethora of great matches over the qualifiers that took place all over the world. In Europe, with the largest pool of national teams, giants like France, Spain, Germany and Portugal fought it out to make a place in the upcoming World Cup. All of the four mentioned teams have fought for a well-deserved spot in the knockouts, as well as Iceland, a team that is not particularly a staple of international soccer. In Africa, of the 53 teams that are fighting it out, only two have secured their spot in the knockout rounds: Nigeria, consistent performers, and Egypt, who will be going to the World Cup for the first time in over a decade! There are still some strong sides that will hopefully be seen in June. In South America, known for having some of the most intense rivalries in the world, have put on a show yet again. Games between Argentina and Brazil are true joys to watch, with plenty of talent, not to mention speed and the breathtaking goals. Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia have made it so far. Lastly, one of the biggest headlines in sports news, the likes of the U.S. national team will not make it to the World Cup in 2018. After poor performances in their group stage, they were eliminated from qualification after a 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago on October 10, which was quite a shocking loss. Many fans are disappointed, as this is the first time Americans will not see their own players in the World Cup since 1986.

Based off the performances in these past few months, the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking has put Germany, Brazil and Portugal at the top three national teams around the globe. Germany, 2014 World Cup winners, topped their group stage without a single loss and are promising a strong performance in the group stages. Despite losing the likes of Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the large pool of new, young talents to choose from makes up for their absences, such as Timo Werner, Leroy Sane and others. It is without a doubt that the Germans will be aiming for more silverware this coming June. Just 12 ranking points behind, the Brazilian national team will be looking to be Germany’s biggest competition in the title race. After an embarrassing 7-1 loss against Germany back in the 2014 World Cup, Brazil will be seeking their revenge against the reigning champions. With plenty of young talent on the team, it is almost certain that Brazil will be big performers in the spotlight. Lastly, after inconsistent rankings in the past 10 years, Portugal have made it to their highest ranking within the team’s history, sitting in 3rd. Equipped with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and other talented youngsters, the Portuguese are aiming for their first World Cup victory. And, with the team that they have, they will certainly be the underdogs looking to take the trophy from under the noses of the competition.

In conclusion, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers have left fans around the world with a glimpse of the action waiting to happen in mid June of 2018. With stellar goals, great upsets and exciting moments, it is without a doubt that the upcoming World Cup will be a must-see event for all people internationally.