November 17, 2017 10:31
The 32 teams that will compete at the 2018 World Cup in Russia have been finalized, as Peru became the last team to qualify for the quadrennial football event.
The South American country, ranked 10th in the world, beat New Zealand 2-0 in the second match of an intercontinental playoff on Wednesday after a scoreless draw in the first match last week, earning a ticket to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years. The other country that won an intercontinental playoff is Australia, which defeated Honduras.
At next year's World Cup, 14 countries from Europe, five each from Africa, Asia and South America and three from the North and Central American and Caribbean region will compete from June 14 to July 15. Iceland and Panama will appear for the first time.
Germany, France and Brazil are favorites to win the event. Top-ranked Germany, which is eyeing its second consecutive win, has a solid team despite lacking individual superstars like Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo or Argentina's Lionel Messi. Germany won all 10 matches in its European qualification campaign, scoring 43 goals and conceding four.
France, which won the tournament in its homeland in 1998, is filled with outstanding players. Five-time World Cup champion Brazil boasts a wealth of attacking talent, including Neymar.
The World Cup draw will take place at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Dec. 1. The four eight-team pots for the final draw have been confirmed based on the October FIFA rankings. In previous editions, the pots were determined by continental confederation.
Host Russia is in Pot 1, along with the seven highest-ranked teams: Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France. Spain, the winner of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, has been allocated to Pot 2, while Korea, ranked No. 62, is placed in Pot 4.
One team from each pot is drawn into one of eight groups. No teams from the same continental confederation can be drawn into the same group, except for UEFA, which can have up to two teams in a group.
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