After the latest round of qualifying matches, four more teams clinched their place in the 2014 World Cup, as Belgium, Switzerland and Germany joined two more European teams on the trip to Brazil, while Colombia became the third team from South America to ensure their place in the competition.
There is one more round of matches in Europe, North America and South America. In Africa there are five playoff matches left to be played, with the winner in each two-leg encounter advances to the World Cup.
Brazil – The hosts, obviously, and a side that has finally found its form in recent months,that has won their last three matches, including 6-0 against Australia, 3-1 against Portugal and 2-1 against South Korea.
Japan – The first nation to make it out of the qualifying competition, finishing first in their group that included Australia, Jordan, Oman and Iraq. It’ll be the fifth appearance in the World Cup for Japan, who reached the round of 16 last time.
Australia – Finished second behind Japan in group B of the Asian qualifiers, and have since added some embarrassing losses to Brazil and France to the resume. It’ll be their fourth World Cup appearance, not making it out of the group stage last time.
Iran – Won group A of the Asian qualifiers, finishing ahead of South Korea, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Lebanon. It’ll be the fourth World Cup for Iran and their first since 2006, although they’ve never made it out of the group stage.
South Korea – Finished second in their group behind Iran, making it to their 9th World Cup, hoping to do as well as they did in 2010, reaching the round of 16.
Netherlands – The first of the European teams to clinch qualification from their group, drawing only once in their nearly perfect road in the qualifiers so far, most recently beating Hungary 8-1. It’s the 10th World Cup for the Dutch, who made it all the way to the Final in 2010, losing to Spain in extra time.
Italy – Their draw against Denmark (2-2) in the most recent match didn’t mean anything after already clinching their place in Brazil while playing with Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Armenia and Malta. It’ll be the 18th World cup for the four-time winners, hoping to erase the embarrassing performance in 2010.
Costa Rica – Will finish among the top three in the Concacaf qualifying group that includes the United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Jamaica. It’ll be the 4th World Cup for Costa Rica, who haven’t been to the tournament since 2006.
United States – Finishing on top of the CONCACAF qualifying group, which included only two away losses; enough to make it out through first place. They made it into the round of 16 in 2010, and it’ll be their 10th World Cup experience.
Argentina – With one match left, they’ve already made sure they’ll finish on top of the hard and long South American qualifying group, recently beating Peru to finish above everyone else. It’ll be the 16th World Cup for Argentina, who made it to the quarterfinals in 2010.
Belgium – Make it into the tournament for the first time since 2002, finishing first in a group that includes Croatia, Serbia, Wales, Scotland and Macedonia. It’ll be their 12th appearance in the World Cup.
Switzerland – Finishing first in a group that includes Iceland, Slovenia, Norway, Albania and Cyprus. It’ll be the 10th World Cup for the Swiss, not making it out of the group stage in 2010.
Germany – By beating Ireland 3-0 in their most recent match found themselves as the winners of the group, going undefeated through their first nine matches. It’ll be the 18th World Cup for Germany (including West Germany appearances), making it to the semifinal last time.
Colombia – Make it to the World Cup for the 5th time and first since 1998, finishing among the top four (currently second) in the South American qualifiers thanks to an impressive comeback against Chile, getting back to 3-3 after being down by three goals at some point.