With 23 of the 32 finalists for the 2018 World Cup finals now known, and all matches played that will be used by Federation Internationale de Football Association to rank nations, the draw pots for the group stage are now taking shape.
As qualifying campaigns came to an end in Europe, South America and Central/North America this month, 15 further countries have been able to book their places in Russian Federation in the last few days.
The greatest number of applications have come from the host nation, but nearly one-third comes from the rest of the world.
At an event in New York City two weeks, Fox Sports said the 2018 World Cup would be "the largest production in the network's 24-year history" committing to 350 hours of World Cup programming. While Argentina had Messi, who was able to prevent his side's failure to qualify for the Russia World Cup, there were some shocking revelations made last night which saw some of the biggest footballing nations bowing out of the competition before it actually started.
Germany, England, Spain, Poland, Iceland, Serbia, Portugal and France took the remaining automatic places on offer to European nations after each topping their respective group. The highest-ranked teams will be placed in Pot 1, the next-highest in Pot 2...
Which teams have secured their World Cup place?In the current and final stage of the qualifiers, there are 5 groups, with the group victor advancing to the World Cup.
The draw will take place next week.
The winners of the CONCACAF/AFC playoff between Australia and Honduras are guaranteed to be in pot 4, as would Ivory Coast if they edge out Morocco to qualify. They will now definitely get two strong teams in their group when they could have escaped this when in a pot with all other European teams.
Tunisia are in the driving seat in Group A with a thee point cushion with one game remaining, but there remains an outside chance, albeit an unlikely one, they could be caught by DR Congo. In Group D, Senegal have the lead over Burkina Faso, and need a draw in their final match (hosting South Africa) to advance to the World Cup.
Two-legged intercontinental playoffs next month between countries from four different confederations will determine the identity of two further qualifiers. Peru haven't been to the World Cup since 1982.