As of this writing there are 233 days left until the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil, the country that many would argue perfected the sport of Soccer. Having won the World Cup on four different continents, Brazil has never won it at home and 2014 will give them the opportunity to hoist the trophy for the first time in front of the home crowd.
Because Brazil hosts the upcoming competition, the team is automatically qualified to participate. Other national teams around the world don’t have it nearly as easy. For them, they must go through the qualifying stages that begin as early as three years before the World Cup is set to take place.
Currently 21 countries from Asia, Europe and the Americas have qualified for the World Cup. There are still more spots to be filled as Africa is holding its final round of qualifiers to determine the five teams that will represent the continent. Europe is also holding a final play-off of eight teams for the final four positions available. Both play-offs will conclude at the end of November.
Looking at the list of teams that have qualified, it is surprising to see that USA is first in the North, Central America and Caribbean region, whereas Mexico is fourth and fighting for a spot in Brazil against the winner of the Oceanic region, New Zealand. There is also a chance for one team in the Asia and South America region to get a first class ticket. Jordan will play against Uruguay, who took fourth at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Of the 21 teams, all but one have played on the grand stage that is the World Cup. After 21 years of independence, Bosnia-Herzegovina clinched its first World Cup appearance when it defeated Lithuania 1-0 Oct. 15. Meanwhile other teams like Germany and Argentina have qualified for their 18th and 16th World Cup appearances respectively.
This will also be Brazil’s 20 World Cup and its second time hosting. Other than Spain, who won its first World Cup in 2012, Brazil is the only champion who has not won a World Cup while its country hosted. Will Brazil finally be able to scratch itself off that list?
By the end of November, when the dust has settled, 32 countries will have successfully qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.