Russian Federation salvage draw with Iran in friendly

Russian Federation salvage draw with Iran in friendly

Russian Federation salvage draw with Iran in friendly

The eagerly awaited start of the 2018 World Cup (14th June) is just eight months away and 23 of the 32 nations competing in Russian Federation are now confirmed after the latest round of qualifying took place around the globe this week - that means nine places are up for grabs for those still involved.

Russian Federation (as hosts) were the very first team booked in, while five-time winners Brazil joined them as early as March 2017 after an incredibly dominant showing in South American qualifying.

Only Brazil has so far qualified, with Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and Peru all ahead of Argentina.

Trailing Sweden by three points, only a massive victory over the Scandinavians in Amsterdam next week will save the three-time World Cup runners-up.

It all means we now have 23 countries in the group stage draw for the tournament, with the remaining nine qualifiers to be determined over the next month.

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When are the World Cup play-offs?

Teams from England, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Germany have already qualified, with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland still hoping to earn a place.

The victor of that match will face the CONCACAF federation's fourth-placed team for a spot in Russia.

That leaves two final group stage berths for the 2018 finals still down for decision and they'll be decided by two two-legged play-off games involving countries from Asia (Australia), CONCACAF (Honduras), Oceania (New Zealand) and South America (Peru).

A win for the United States against bottom of the hexagonal table Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday will seal the Americans' ticket for an eighth consecutive finals - and even a point should do it.

The World Cup play-off round draw takes place on Tuesday October 17 in Zurich.

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