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ESPN FC  By ESPN

2018 World Cup: Who has qualified for the finals in Russia next year

Final grid for 2018 World Cup Russia
With 32 teams having qualified, the field for the 2018 World Cup in Russia is set.

Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, which began on March 12, 2015, is over with the final 32 teams now known. The seeded draw pots can be seen in full here.

Qualified nations: Russia (hosts), Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uruguay.

UEFA PLAYOFFS...

How Copa America could shape 2022 World Cup hopes for South American nations

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno says Brazil came together and proved that they were the best team at the Copa America despite Neymar's absence.
To watch the 2019 Copa America, sign up for ESPN+

In the Copa America final on July 7, Everton gave Brazil the lead, and Paolo Guerrero equalised for Peru before the hosts sealed a 3-1 win. Just three days later, both were in action for their clubs in the quarterfinals of the Brazilian Cup.

Once domestic football starts up, international tournaments are quickly brushed into the past, but it would be a mistake to do that to the Copa America. This year's tournament does not represent the end of a process; rather, it kicks off a new competitive...

Argentina showing signs of renewal under Lionel Scaloni

The Nations League is giving European national team football a welcome shot of competitive action. A similar thing happened to South America in 1996, when the current marathon format of World Cup qualification was introduced.

Until that point, the continent's 10 teams were split into groups. The process was a quick one, and there were times when the teams -- especially those who failed to make the cut -- would have massive gaps between competitive fixtures.

From 1996, all that came to an end. Instead...

Copa America schedule change makes sense in the short term but not the long term

Alejandro Dominguez and CONMEBOL's decision to change the Copa America schedule is controversial.
Alejandro Dominguez and CONMEBOL's decision to change the Copa America schedule is controversial.

There are two highly significant dates in the development of national team football in South America.

One is 1916, when the Copa America got underway. The world's first continental competition, it was held frequently in the early years -- at times annually -- and was responsible for a rapid rise in playing standards. Indeed, a straight line connects the Copa with the birth of the World Cup 14 years later. Uruguay's gold medals in the Olympics of 1924 and 28 made a compelling case for the view that...

Amid Uruguayan continuity, pressure is on Brazil and Argentina seek new start

In the four-year cycle of international football, the year that follows a World Cup is silly season for South American countries.

Competitive action does not resume until next June, with the Copa America in Brazil, but even though there is a title at stake, the primary aim for many coaches will be to prepare a squad for 2022 qualifiers, which begin toward the end of 2019.

Until then, there is nothing but friendlies. Many are money-chasing exercises played around the world, but that does not render...