Just 32 of FIFA’s 211 member associations will be represented at the 2018 World Cup in Russia – a process of elimination that can sometimes leave a major soccer nation without a spot at the biggest single sporting event in the world.
In this campaign, the most surprising straggler is surely the Netherlands, who lost 2-0 to Bulgaria at the weekend to drop into fourth place in its UEFA qualifying group. The Dutch already missed out on Euro 2016, and consecutive absences from major tournaments would be highly surprising for a nation who were World Cup finalists in 2010 and third-place runners-up in 2014.
But the Oranje aren’t the only nation facing World Cup peril. Some dominant sides in Africa and South America could also miss out.
And as for the United States? Fear not: There are 21 points to be claimed in CONCACAF’s Hexagonal, with most nations requiring a minimum of 11 points to progress historically (per Fox Sports). Despite upcoming clashes with Mexico and Costa Rica, this should be highly achievable.
Check out our latest video and give your thoughts in the comments.