The race to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia is almost over. Russia qualify as hosts, and 11 other nations have already made it.
The home nations, besides England who have already booked their place, have it all in their own hands in the coming days.
Sportsmail‘s NICK HARRIS looks at how each region is shaping up as the hopes of Argentina, Ghana, Chile and Australia hang by a thread…
Argentina’s hopes are hanging by a thread… but who will book their place at Russia next year
AFC – 46 teams competing for 4.5 places
Qualified: South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Japan
The only thing left to be decided is whether Syria or Australia will triumph in their play-off and go to a winner-takes-all encounter with a team from CONCACAF (as it stands, Panama). They drew 1-1 in the first leg and conclude matters in Sydney on Tuesday (kick-off 10am British time).
Australia, with five English-based players including Huddersfield’s in-form Aaron Mooy, have qualified for three World Cups in a row and are favourites for this one.
Australia, who have the in-form Aaron Mooy, have qualified for three World Cups in a row
ConCacaf – 35 teams competing for 3.5 places
Costa Rica host Honduras on Sunday, knowing a win would guarantee a place in Russia.
Honduras started the weekend in fifth but knowing any points would keep their hopes of automatic qualification alive.
The final matches are on Tuesday. USA, with Stoke’s Geoff Cameron, will qualify if they beat Trinidad and Tobago.
Panama are in fourth, the play-off spot, and remain hopeful of a World Cup debut. They host Costa Rica in their final game.
USA, with Stoke’s Geoff Cameron, will qualify if they beat Trinidad and Tobago
CAF – 54 teams competing for 5 places
Nigeria have four Premier League forwards in their squad — Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Moses — and it was Arsenal’s Iwobi who sealed qualification on Sunday night with the only goal against Zambia.
The five group winners fill the five spots, with Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Egypt looking strong. Group D is still open — Senegal are a point off Cape Verde and Burkina Faso. Algeria and African champions Cameroon are out and Ghana are struggling.
Arsenal’s Iwobi who sealed qualification on Sunday night with the only goal against Zambia
CONmebol – 10 teams competing for 4.5 places
Aside from Neymar leading Brazil to Russia, this remains an intriguing and perhaps shocking group. With one round of matches to come on Tuesday, Uruguay (28 points, home to Bolivia) are likely to book one place.
Chile (26, away to Brazil), Colombia (26, away to Peru), Peru (25), Argentina (24, away in Ecuador) and Paraguay (24, home to Venezuela) are the five teams chasing two more berths and a play-off.
There is a very realistic chance Lionel Messi could miss next year’s World Cup.
Aside from Neymar leading Brazil to Russia, CONmebol remains an intriguing group
0FC – 11 teams competing for 0.5 places
New Zealand bagged OFC’s play-off place after emerging from three rounds of regional qualifying, topped off with an 8-3 aggregate win over the Solomon Islands, with Burnley’s Chris Wood grabbing a hat-trick in the first leg.
All that now stands between the Kiwis and a third World Cup finals in their history is a play-off against the fifth-placed CONMEBOL nation.
Wood and his team-mates will eagerly await how Messi and Co fare high up in the mountains of Ecuador on Tuesday.
New Zealand bagged OFC’s play-off place and Burnley’s Chris Wood has starred for them