The Socceroos qualified for their fifth World Cup, and fourth in a row, via a play-off win against Syria, having come third in the AFC third round. Thirty-eight year old Tim Cahill, who could be the country’s greatest ever player, scored 10 goals in AFC qualifying.
Denmark qualified after a play-off, having come second in UEFA’s Group E behind Poland. The play-off saw them draw 0-0 with the Republic of Ireland in Copenhagen, before hammering them 5-1 in Dublin with Christian Eriksen scoring a hat-trick; Eriksen scored 11 overall, joint third in UEFA qualifying.
Winners in 1998, and runners-up in 2006, France topped a tricky qualification group beating Sweden into second, and seeing off the Netherlands, who failed to make it through. Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann both scored four and four players scored twice, including Dimitri Payet, who misses out on the final squad due to an injury.
Peru, under manager Ricardo Gareca, came fifth in the CONMEBOL qualification section, level on points with the more fancied Chile but ahead on goal difference. This put them through to the inter-confederation play-off against the OFC’s winning team, New Zealand. Peru won 2-0 at home to seal a 2-0 aggregate win. Edison Flores and skipper Paolo Guerrero scored five goals each for Peru in qualification, but Guerrero will miss Russia 2018 as the result of a drugs ban.