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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...

Argentina showing signs of renewal under Lionel Scaloni

Interim coach Lionel Scaloni admits he's uncertain if Lionel Messi will return to the national team, but is optimistic for the newcomers to the side.
Argentina interim head coach Lionel Scaloni quashes claims of a rift with Paulo Dybala after the Juve star started on the bench against Colombia.

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...

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman steps aside after national team contract expires

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia coach Jose Pekerman let his contract run out after six years and two World Cups with the team.

Pekerman's deal ended last Friday, and the Argentine's decision not to extend the contract was confirmed by Colombia Football Federation president Ramon Jesurun on Tuesday.

Arturo Reyes was appointed as interim coach for friendlies on Friday against Venezuela then on Tuesday against Argentina. Both games are in the United States.

Pekerman led Colombia to their first World Cup...