Some spotlight countries miss out on FIFA World Cup

On Nov. 15, the 32 countries that would play for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia were confirmed by FIFA.



Players of Italy show their dejection after the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification playoff, second leg soccer match between Italy and Sweden at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 13 November 2017. Sweden won 1-0 on aggregate.

Sandile Lukhozi

On Nov. 15, the 32 countries that would play for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia were confirmed by FIFA, with Peru snatching the last spot after a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in Lima, Peru’s capital.

Peru’s world cup qualification ended their 36-year wait to participate in the global showpiece.

Their last participation was in Spain in 1982.

During the qualifying campaign, that took 32 months, a total of 871 matches were played and 2457 goals were scored.

The numbers released by FIFA on November 16, revealed that Bhutan, Gibraltar, Kosovo and South Sudan are four nations that would make their debut on the global showpiece.

Moreover, Mohamed Al Sahlawi (Saudi Arabia), Ahmed Khalil (United Arab Emirates) and Robert Lewandowski (Poland) were the joint top goal scorers during the qualifying campaign with 16 goals apiece.

There were disappointments for some of the leading soccer nations.

For the first time since 1958, four-time world champions Italy would not feature in the 2018 FIFA World cup after a 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden.

Since the match took place on Monday, Nov. 13, several soccer stars from Italy including Andrea Barzagli, Daniele de Rossi, Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini have brought down the curtain on their illustrious international careers.

Buffon is Italy’s most capped player and goalkeeper with 175 games under his belt. His international retirement comes after a month since announcing that he will hang up his gloves for Juventus at the end of the season.

Cameroon, Chile, New Zealand and the United States were among eight nations that participated in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia; however, they all failed to make the cut for the biggest soccer tournament.  

According to Washington Post, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) is looking at the possibility of establishing a tournament for the teams that did not qualify for the World Cup.

At least one soccer enthusiast from Columbia, Julian Robles, believes the World Cup would be different without countries such as the Netherlands and Italy.

However, he was opposed to the possibility of a soccer tournament created by the USSF.

“These are good soccer teams, but I think their absence from the World Cup means that maybe they are not as good as before,” Robles said.

“The World Cup is made for the best and the tournament by the USSF would either be boring or it would not meet the standard of the world cup.”

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will run from June 14, 2018, to July 15, 2018, and will be hosted in 12 venues in 11 cities in Russia.