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Team Previews Articles

World Cup Tunisia
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After defeating Mauritania 4-2 on aggregate in the preliminary round of qualifications, Tunisia finished at the top of the group ahead of DR Kongo, Libya, and Guinea without losing a single game. The Eagles of Carthage will likely battle with Panama for the third place in the Group G from where Belgium and England are favorites to advance to the Round of 16.

World Cup Panama
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Panama finished ahead of Honduras and USA in the CONCACAF zone of qualifications to reach the World Cup for the first time in country’s history, and although many expected to see the Americans in Russia rather than the Canal Men, Hernán Darío Gómez’s side deservedly secured their place here.

World Cup England
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As usual England had no problems in qualifying to the World Cup as they were among the first teams that secured their place in Russia, finishing eight points clear of Slovakia and Scotland, with just three goals allowed in ten games. The Three Lions experienced fiasco in the previous World Cup and EURO, so they are desperate to make a much better impression this time around.

World Cup Belgium
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Belgium was one of the first teams that booked their ticket to Russia as they dominated the qualification group, finishing with nine points ahead of Greece and 11 more than Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Red Devils had nine wins and one draw with a goal difference of 43:6, and only Germany scored that amount of goals of all European teams, which is a proof of their supremacy.

World Cup Argentina
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Argentina was in jeopardy of missing the World Cup for the first time since 1970 as they needed three points in the last round of the CONMEBOL qualifications, and although they were down in Bolivia, Leo Messi scored a hat-trick to send his team to Russia.

World Cup Iceland
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After qualifying to the Euro 2016 for the first time in country’s history, Iceland also made it to the World Cup, finishing above Croatia, Ukraine, and Turkey in their qualification group. Heimir Hallgrímsson’s side brought a joy to their fellow countrymen and now they will be without pressure to perform well in Russia, which could be dangerous for their opponents.

World Cup Croatia
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Croatia needed two extra games to reach the World Cup in Russia after finishing behind Iceland in their qualification group, but they didn’t have problems against Greece in the playoffs, defeating them 4-1 on aggregate. The Blazers are the second favorite to make it to the Round of 16 here, but it’s not going to be easy in “Group of Death”.

World Cup Nigeria
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Nigeria comfortably qualified to the World Cup after finishing at the top of the tough group ahead of Zambia, Cameroon, and Algeria, suffering just one loss in the process, and that defeat was a result of fielding the ineligible player, so FIFA awarded a 3-0 victory to Algeria. The Super Eagles don’t have big chances to progress to the Round of 16 in Russia, but they are known as a team who is always a potential surprise of the tournament.

World Cup Brazil
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Brazil comfortably qualified to the World Cup after finishing at the top of the CONMEBOL qualification zone with ten points clear of Uruguay, and they suffered just one defeat in 18 games when they fell short at Chile, 2-0. The Green and Yellow are the biggest favorites to win this tournament after failing to do so in their own country in 2014.

World Cup Switzerland
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Switzerland nearly secured a direct qualification to the World Cup, but losing in the deciding match to Portugal forced them to play additional two games with Northern Ireland in the playoffs. The Red Crusaders narrowly eliminated them, 1-0 on aggregate and made it to Russia where they will have a lot to do to book their place to the Round of 16.

World Cup Costa Rica
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Costa Rica finished the CONCACAF qualifying phase behind Mexico but with three points ahead of Panama and Honduras, and although they didn’t have problems to get to Russia, making it to the Round of 16 will be rather tricky. However, the surprises are always possible and the Ticos are the living proof of it as they almost made it to the semi-finals four years ago.

World Cup Serbia
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Serbia qualified for the World Cup in Russia as a top team from the group with Ireland, Wales, and Austria after suffering just one defeat in ten games, and after failing to make it to the tournament in Brazil, the Eagles are right back where they belong – among the best 32 sides on the planet.

World Cup Germany
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Germany destroyed all opponents in the qualification stage and won ten out of ten with a fantastic goal difference of 43:4, becoming the first team that booked a World Cup ticket alongside the hosts Russia, of course. The holders of the trophy are once again among the most serious contenders to win, and the DFB Eleven will not have a hard job to make it to the Round of 16.

World Cup Mexico
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Mexico didn’t have problems to qualify to the World Cup as they dominated the CONCACAF zone after losing just one out of 16 games and conceding eight goals in the process, so the Tricolor fully deserved their ticket to Russia.

World Cup Sweden
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Sweden has the same amount of points as Holland in their qualification group where France secured the trip to Russia as the top-placed team, but the goal difference saved the Swedes who then went on to eliminate the four-time World champions Italy in the playoffs, 1-0 on aggregate. That was a big surprise, but the Blue-Yellow will not stop there as they are hoping to reach the Round of 16 here.

World Cup South Korea
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South Korea dismantled all the opponents in the first stage of the qualifications, scoring 27 goals and allowing none in the process, and although they had some problems in the second phase, they managed to finish behind Iran and Ahead of Syria to reach the World Cup in Russia. The Asian Tigers are viewed as the underdogs in their group, so they will be without pressure here, which could turn out to be dangerous for the favored teams.

World Cup Poland
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Poland qualified to the World Cup in Russia after missing out on the previous two tournaments and they did it in style, finishing at the top of the group ahead of Denmark, Montenegro, and Romania. The Eagles will have a lot to do to reach the Round of 16 here as they were handed a tough and probably the most balanced group in the championship.

World Cup Senegal
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Senegal didn’t have problems to beat Madagascar in the preliminary round, while they finished the qualifications at the top of their CAF group ahead of Burkina Faso, allowing just three goals in six games and booking their ticket to Russia without a single defeat. The Lions of Teranga have the strongest team in the last decade and it’s going to exciting watching them, as they will have a decent chance to make it to the Round of 16.

World Cup Japan
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Japan dominated the preliminary round of the qualifications, winning all but one game without conceding a single goal, while they had a tougher job in the following stage, but still finished at the top of the group with a point ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. The Samurai Blue have been one of the best teams in the Asian continent in the past 20 years, but they never did anything notable at the World Cup, and judging by their quality at the moment, it’s going to be hard to progress to the Round of 16.

World Cup Colombia
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Colombia made it to the World Cup in Russia quite narrowly after a 1-1 draw with Peru in the last round of CONMEBOL qualifications, and they even avoided a playoff round, so the Coffee Growers will get a chance to go a step forward following the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago.

World Cup Denmark
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Denmark finished the qualifications behind Poland so they needed playoffs to reach the World Cup, and after 0-0 in the first leg with Ireland, the Red-White destroyed the Irish in Dublin, 5-1, despite losing early in the game. Åge Hareide’s side has a good opportunity to advance to the Round of 16 after missing out on the WC in Brazil 2014.

World Cup Peru
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Peru had plenty of luck to finish in the 5th place in the CONMEBOL after a draw with Colombia in the last round, while Chile and Paraguay lost elsewhere, so the Incas got to play with New Zealand in the Inter-confederation play-offs and beat them 2-0 on aggregate.

World Cup France
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France ended the qualification stage at the top place of the group ahead of Sweden and Holland despite a pair of draws with much weaker opponents such as Luxembourg and Belarus. One of the most talented sides at the World Cup in Russia will try to secure its second title, and they were handed a relatively easy group.

World Cup Australia
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Australia had a long way to cross to get to Russia as they needed two additional rounds of playoffs comparing it to other Asian teams who qualified to the World Cup. The Socceroos barely eliminated Syria after extra-time before defeating Honduras in the Inter-confederation play-offs, and although they made their nation proud again, Bert van Marwijk’s side is dubbed as the weakest team in their group.

World Cup Iran
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Iran dominated in the qualifications as they finished both rounds without a single defeat, a feature that no other team achieved in the AFC. They conceded just five goals in 18 matches and scored 36 in return, ending seven points clear of South Korea. Carlos Queiroz’s side is among the weakest teams in the World Cup, but they are tough and will not surrender without a fight; however, their chances of getting to the Round of 16 are minimal.

World Cup Morocco
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Morocco narrowly passed through the second qualifying round with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Equatorial Guinea, but they impressed in the next phase by topping the arguably the toughest group in the CAF qualifications, finishing above Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Mali. The Atlas Lions ended that stage without a loss and without a single goal conceded, making them the only team to achieve that feature.

World Cup Spain
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Spain was dominant in the qualification group as they finished above Italy and allowing just three goals in ten games, scoring 36 in return, and they are desperate to bounce back following a disappointing World Cup in Brazil. La Furia Roja was a defender of the title they won in 2010 but didn’t go through the group stage in an underachieving display, so they are now looking to make amends.

World Cup Portugal
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Portugal managed to qualify directly to the World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Switzerland in the final game of the UEFA qualifications, and even though both teams had the same amount of points, the Navigators ended above Switzerland thanks to a better record in between matches.

World Cup Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia managed to qualify directly to the World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Japan in the final game of the Asian qualifications, surpassing Australia in the process. They are among the biggest underdogs in this year’s competition, and anything but the bottom place in the Group A would be considered as a great success.

World Cup Uruguay
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The two-time World Cup champions, Uruguay, will appear at the biggest international competition for the 13th time after qualifying as the second-best team from South America behind Brazil, and they are hoping to get to the knockout stage for the third time in a row.

World Cup Egypt
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Egypt narrowly squeezed through the qualifications to reach the World Cup and now they are looking to advance from the group phase for the first time, and have one of the best players on the planet at the moment on their side to help them with it – Mohamed Salah.

World Cup Russia
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Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov After failing to qualify for the WC 2006 and 2010, Russia made it to the World Cup in Brazil 2014, but as it was the case in the previous two participations, the Sbornaya was stopped in the group phase. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia played at three World Cups […]

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