The 2018 World Cup is coming up next summer, and the list of qualified teams is shaping up quickly. After three years and 210 teams playing for a precious spot in the World Cup, we now know most of the qualifiers. Here’s everything you know to stay up-to-date (including the different qualifying processes): 


Qualifying process: The 54 teams are divided in 9 groups of 6 and play home and away round-robin games. The first place winner from each group qualifies for the World Cup.

The eight runners-up have playoffs in a home and away manner. The first leg will happen between Nov. 9-11, and the second leg will take place from Nov. 12-14.

Spots: 13 (including Russia, the host)

Teams: 54

Have already qualified: Russia, Germany, England, Spain, Poland, Serbia, France, Portugal.

Spanish national team celebrating after beating Albania.

North and Central America and The Caribbean

Qualifying process: The 14 lowest ranked nations play two legs and then the 7 winners of the first round play the next 13 lowest ranked nations. Round three has the 10 winners from round 2 joined with Jamaica and Haiti. For the final round, the 6 winners join Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Honduras, United States, Trinidad and Tobago. These nations are drawn into 3 groups of 4 nations and the top 2 nations go on. The six winners from the fourth round make a 6 team group and the top three from that group qualify for the World Cup and the fourth place goes off to a play-off against the 5th place from Asia.

Spots: 3.5

Teams: 35

Have already qualified: Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama.

South America

Qualifying Process:

All teams play each other home and away and the 4 top nations qualify for the World Cup. The 5th place nation goes off to a playoff against the Oceania region winner.

Spots: 4.5

Teams: 10

Have already qualified: Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia

 Lionel Messi celebrating after having qualified.


Qualifying Process: For the first round, the 26 lowest ranked nations play two legs against another nation, then the 13 winners play two legged ties with the remaining 27 nations which make 40 teams in total. Then the 20 winner are drawn into 5 groups of 4 teams playing round – robin home and away games. The 5 group winner qualifies for the World Cup.

Spots: 5

Teams: 53

Have already qualified: Nigeria and Egypt


Qualifying Process: The first round has the 12 lowest ranked nations playing two legs against another nation. The second round consists of the 6 winner playing the remaining 32 teams in drawn 8 groups of 5 teams. They play round robin home and away games. The top 8 winner qualify as well as the top 4 runner ups. The 12 winner are drawn in 2 groups of 6 teams and the 2 winners and runner-ups qualify for the World Cup. The 2 third- placed teams from the 2 groups play home and away games and the winner plays against the fourth place of North, Central America and the Caribbean.

Spots: 4.5

Teams: 46

Have already qualified: Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia


Genki Haraguchi celebrating after scoring a goal vs. Australia in the qualifier match.



Qualifying Process: The 4 lowest ranked teams play a tournament and the winner advances and the winner joins the other 7 teams and are drawn into 2 groups of 4 teams. The top 3 teams from each group advances and are drawn into 2 groups of 3 teams. They play home and away games and the winners from both groups have a play-off game. The winner of that game plays against the 5th place from South America.

Spots: ½

Teams: 11

Have already qualified: None


There are only a few more teams that can qualify, but we will have to wait a few weeks to know who made it. It will be a tough battle in Russia, but it will be interesting to see what has changed since 2014 and who will be the new player to take the world by storm.