For the Fifa World Cup 2022 in Qatar, and then there were 32.
Joel Campbell’s third minute strike was all that Costa Rica needed, as the Central American team hung on to beat New Zealand 1-0 in the inter-continental playoff, and win the last remaining berth for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
This came a day after Australia beat Peru 5-4 on penalties to book the 31st spot for the mega event in Qatar, starting in November.
There are a good number of notable names who will not be at the World Cup this year – Mohamed Salah with Egypt, Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Sweden, and the Italian team under Roberto Mancini that won Euro 2020.
But it also marked the return of Canada into the World Cup fold for the first time since 1986, and Gareth Bale’s Wales, who will play at the event for the first time since 1958.
The World Cup finals is to be played from November 21 to December 18.
Here’s a look at the teams that made it to the final 32:
Thirteen teams qualified for the World Cup from this confederation.
Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England, and Germany made it through as winners of the 10 groups. Portugal, Poland and Wales later progressed after playing through a second stage of qualifiers.
South America (CONMEBOL)
Only four teams made it through from South America this time, as Peru lost in the inter-continental qualifiers to Australia.
The usual suspects Brazil and Argentina were quick to secure qualification. Uruguay too managed to get through in third place, and then Ecuador finished fourth to wrap up the CONMEBOL direct entries.
This was the first confederation to have completed its qualification process. Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco and Cameroon were the five teams out of 54 competing to claim the World Cup spots reserved for African nations.
Qatar, by virtue of being hosts, had already secured qualification. Joining them through direct entries are Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iran and South Korea. Australia won their inter-continental playoff against Peru to make it a record six teams from AFC.
North America (CONCACAF)
Canada surprised the field by topping the qualification round to earn a direct entry, and make it to the World Cup for the first time since 1986. In second place was Mexico, followed by the United States making up the three direct entry spots.
Costa Rica later joined the fold after winning the inter-continental playoff against New Zealand. That also meant that no team from Oceania would be competing this year.
Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
With AFP inputs