So the field is finally set for the World Cup as Peru beat New Zealand and Australia beat Honduras in the intra-confederation playoffs. This year there are two teams that are appearing for the first time like Iceland and Panama as well as other that haven’t been in a while Egypt hasn’t made it since 1990 and Peru will be going for the first time in 36 years. It is the first time three Nordic countries (Iceland, Sweden and Denmark) and four Arab nations (Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco) have qualified for the World Cup. Best of luck to all these teams as they make their way to Russia this upcoming summer.
Now on the other side we have a bunch of teams who failed to qualify. Over on Sports Illustrated and Deadspin there is a report about the US working on creating some sort of World Cup type event for themselves to participate in next summer as they will not be going to the real World Cup in Russia. There are a bunch of team that aren’t taking the trip to Russia as well like Italy, the Netherlands, Ghana, and even Chile. So there would be other teams that might want to come play but, it seems unlikely that this would last very long as hopefully these team will make it in 2022 and if that doesn’t happen in 2026 the World Cup expands from 32 teams to 48 teams so the likelihood of these nations missing will drop in a few years with all regions getting a boost in how many slots they will have I mean the Oceania Football Confederation will get a spot for themselves instead of the .5 slot they currently have. There will also be a six team playoff to decide the final two slots for the World Cup of the all the Confederations not Europe and an extra team from the confederation of the Host nation. This expansion sounds great and it will only be a few years away but it will be one of the most important things that happens to the world of football/soccer