A Guide Of The Teams Who Have Already Secured Their Places At The 2014 Fifa World Cup In Brazil

Sports News There are some pretty classy opponents ready to tackle the Socceroos
OCT 17, 2013 LISTEN
There are some pretty classy opponents ready to tackle the Socceroos

The conclusion of the group stage in the World Cup qualifiers is always a pivotal date in the competition, with seven teams across three continents booking their place at Brazil 2014 this week.

But with crunch play-offs still to come, the race to reach the World Cup next summer is still far from over.

Here's a guide to show you who has qualified for the tournament and what is next for the teams set to be given a second chance to qualify through the play-offs.

Manager: Marc Wilmots
Star man: Eden Hazard
Previous appearances: 11 (last in 2002)
Best finish: Fourth (1986)
How they got there: Blessed with a generation of players that have taken Belgium from being non-qualifying material to a major European force, Marc Wilmots guided his side to top spot in Group A with a game to spare after making light work of nearest rivals Croatia. The nation's first major tournament in 12 years may end up being their best since the class of 86 visited Mexico.

Manager: Cesare Prandelli
Star man: Claudio Marchisio
Previous appearances: 17 (last in 2010)
Best finish: Winners (four times)
How they got there: The Italians never looked in danger of failing to reach Brazil with group rivals stumbling over each other as Prandelli's team built a commanding lead at the top of the group. Flopped as defending champions to crash out at the group stage in 2010, but a team blessed with veteran experience and youthful enthusiasm will hope to build on a runners-up finish at Euro 2012.

Manager: Joachim Low
Star man: Mesut Ozil
Previous appearances: 17 (last in 2010)
Best finish: Winners (three times)
How they got there: By winning every game – aside from a moment of madness when they only drew with Sweden despite going 4-0 up. That was about as bad as it got for Low's side as Germany typically qualified with envious ease. Germany have actually never failed in any of their qualification attempts, as the two tournaments they missed saw them fail to enter (1930) or banned (1950.)

Manager: Louis van Gaal
Star man: Robin van Persie
Previous appearances: 10 (last in 2010)
Best finish: Runners-up (three times)
How they got there: In style. Holland bounced back from a calamitous Euro 2012, where they lost every game, to blitz Group D and finish as Europe's top scorers – much of that was in part due to Van Persie's unmatched 11 goals. The Dutch seemed to have learned from the shambles of the Euros last year and will target going one better than 2010's runners-up finish in South Africa.

Manager: Ottmar Hitzfeld
Star man: Xherdan Shaqiri
Previous appearances: Nine (last in 2010)
Best finish: Quarter-finals (three times)
How they got there: The Swiss were given a boost before the qualifying games had even begun as the top seed place in their group was taken by a Norway team who have gone on to struggle. With Slovenia the second seeds, Hitzfeld's team have taken advantage of one of Europe's weaker groups but there is exciting talent within the squad such as Shaqiri and Valentin Stocker.

Manager: Fabio Capello
Star player: Alan Dzagoev
Previous appearances: Nine (last 2002)
Best finish: Fourth
How they got there: Despite being in the same group as Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, Russia always held the advantage in the group and secured top spot with relative ease. Manager Fabio Capello of course did a similar trick with England to comfortably guide them to South Africa, but we will need little reminding of how badly that adventure ended…

Manager: Safet Susic
Star man: Edin Dzeko
Previous appearances: None
Best finish: N/A
How they got there: Bosnia and Greece were by far the runaway teams in Group G and such was their dominance, Bosnia still needed to win on the final day despite dropping points in just two qualifiers throughout the campaign. Huge celebrations greeted their first ever qualification for a major tournament but it remains to be seen how Dzeko and his team-mate cope in Brazil.

Manager: Roy Hodgson
Star man: Wayne Rooney
Previous appearances: 13
Best finish: Winners
How they go there: While England seemed to toil through qualifying at times they never once looked on the back foot. When the chips were down they were forced to win their last two matches but they delivered in confident fashion. A nation awaits to see which star will break his metatarsal in the run-up to the finals next summer.

Manager: Vicente del Bosque
Star man: Andres Iniesta
Previous appearances: 13 (last in 2010)
Best finish: Winners
How they got there: Paired in a tough group that contained France, top-spot was always going to come down to the two clashes between Spain and the 1998 champions. As it was it was the current holders that edged the head-to-head record and finish in an automatic qualifying spot, as they attempt to become the first European side to lift the World Cup on South American soil.

Heading to the play-offs…
Eight of the nine runners-up from the European qualifying section will contest a two-legged play-off to reach the World Cup, with seedings set to be decided by the FIFA world rankings from October 17. The draw for the play-offs will take place on October 21, with fixtures being played on November 15 and the return leg on November 19.

Despite finishing behind Italy as runners-up, Denmark miss out on the play-offs altogether due to having the worst runners-up record and as such fail to qualify for next summer's World Cup.

Manager: Luiz Felipe Scolari
Star player: Neymar
Previous appearances: 19 (last 2010)
Best finish: Winners (five times)
How they got there: As host nation they booked their place at the tournament six years ago when Brazil were awarded the tournament. There is huge pressure on Brazil, where anything less than a record sixth victory will be seen as a national disaster alongside the infamous team that crashed on home soil to lose the 1950 final to Uruguay.

Manager: Alejandro Sabella
Star player: Lionel Messi
Previous appearances: 15 (last 2010)
Best finish: Winners (two times)
How they got there: Without Brazil's presence, Argentina were billed to be the runaway leaders in South America and they didn't fail to disappoint as Messi's goals ensured they easily navigated their way to an 11th consecutive appearance. Messi failed to deliver in South Africa, but can he finally star on the biggest stage and end Argentina's 28-year wait to win a third World Cup?

Manager: Jose Pekerman
Star player: Radamel Falcao
Previous appearances: Four (last 1998)
Best finish: Last 16
How they got there: We haven't seen Colombia since David Beckham's free-kick past Faryd Mondragon (still part of the squad at 42) helped dump them out of France 98. But having trailed a distant second behind Argentina for much of the campaign, Colombia are back and this time it will be the feet of Falcao rather than the hair of Carlos Valderrama which will do the talking.

Manager: Jorge Sampaoli
Star player: Alexis Sanchez
Previous appearances: Eight (last 2010)
Best finish: Third (1962)
How they got there: Chile were not made to regret throwing away a 3-0 lead against Colombia – they eventually drew 3-3 – and sealed victory against Ecuador in the final qualifier to secure third place and their place in Brazil.

Manager: Reinaldo Rueda
Star player: Edison Mendez
Previous appearances: Two (last 2006)
Best finish: Last 16.
How they got there: A vital 1-0 win over Uruguay in their penultimate game effectively sealed Ecuador's place in their third finals in four World Cups. That they lost 2-1 in Santiago proved an irrelevance as they grabbed the fourth and final automatic spot ahead of Uruguay – who beat Argentina 3-2 in Montevideo – on goal difference.

Who is joining the Brazil 2014 party?
Belgium, Italy, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Russia, Bosnia, England, Spain

(Plus four from play-off teams – Croatia, Sweden, Romania, Iceland, Portugal, Ukraine, Greece, France)

South America
Brazil (hosts), Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile

North/Central America
United States, Costa Rica, Honduras
Japan, Australia, Iran, South Korea
Ivory Coast v Senegal (3-1)
Ethiopia v Nigeria (1-2)
Tunisia v Cameroon (0-0)
Ghana v Egypt (6-1)
Burkina Faso v Algeria (3-2)
*second legs to be played between November 16 and 19.

Inter continental play-off
Jordan v Uruguay
Inter continental play-off
Mexico v New Zealand
United States
Manager: Jurgen Klinsmann
Star player: Jozy Altidore
Previous appearances: Nine (last 2010)
Best finish: Semi-finals
How they got there: After starting slowly in 'the Hex', Klinsmann's side soon found their winning rhythm to hit top spot in the group before a win over Mexico last month confirmed a seventh straight World Cup appearance. The last 10 years have seen players gain bucket loads of experience from playing in Europe and it's seeing big gains in the squad strength.

Costa Rica
Manager: Jorge Luis Pinto
Star player: Bryan Ruiz
Previous appearances: Three (last 2006)
Best finish: Last 16
How they got there: Despite conceding a last-minute equaliser in Jamaica last month, it was smiles all round as the draw in Kingston was enough to see Costa Rica qualify in surprisingly comfortable circumstances. Fulham forward Bryan Ruiz has the ability to compete on the global stage but reaching the last 16 like in 1990 will prove a tough ask for Pinto's team.

Manager: Luis Fernando Suarez
Star player: Wilson Palacios
Previous appearances: Two (last 2010)
Best finish: Group stage
How they got there: Honduras have undergone several changes since South Africa, but pulled it all together in time to enjoy a successful qualifying campaign, finally sealing their place with a 2-2 draw against Jamaica in the final match.

Manager: Alberto Zaccheroni
Star player: Keisuke Honda
Previous appearances: Four (last 2010)
Best finish: Last 16
How they got there: Now part of the World Cup furniture after reaching their first tournament at France 98. Japan were the first side to qualify (outside the hosts) for Brazil 2014 in June as they comfortably topped Asia's Group B. The squad is talented, too. Shinji Kagawa may not be featuring much for Manchester United but keep an eye out for CSKA Moscow's midfield genius, Honda.

Manager: Carlos Queiroz
Star player: Ashkan Dejagah
Previous appearances: Three (last 2006)
Best finish: Group stage
How they got there: Surprisingly topped Group A after winning at South Korea on the final match day. Despite winning the group there isn't much to suggest that former Manchester United assistant Queiroz can guide them past the group stage for the first time. Skipper, Javad Nekounam has the experience but Fulham's Ashkan Dejagah is best suited to deal with the quality they will face in Brazil.

South Korea
Manager: Hong Myung-bo
Star player: Ki Sung-yueng
Previous appearances: Eight (last 2010)
Best finish: Fourth
How they got there: Survived a late scare on the final matchday of the group stage to qualify as only a narrowly superior goal difference saved them from being bumped into the play-offs by Uzbekistan following a 1-0 home defeat to Iran. It will be their eighth consecutive finals but only twice have they got beyond the group stage.

Manager: N/A
Star player: Tim Cahill
Previous appearances: Four (last 2010)
Best finish: Last 16
How they got there: Rather than battling for top spot, Australia were left trying to fend off Oman for the final automatic spot which they only achieved on the final day following a late 1-0 win against Iraq coupled with Oman's loss at Jordan. Managerless and out of form having been defeated 6-0 by Brazil and France in recent matches – just as well the tournament is next summer.