Argentina qualified in third place in the CONMEBOL round robin, but their 19 goals scored was lower than all but one team of the ten, Bolivia. Only Brazil conceded fewer, though. The world’s best, Lionel Messi, scored seven of Argentina’s 19.
Croatia qualified as runners-up in Group I, which also featured their World Cup Group D opponents Iceland, who topped the group. Croatia then saw off Greece 4-1 on aggerate in the play-offs, with five goals in the process for Mario Mandzukic of Juventus; Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic and Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric scored three each.
Iceland will be hoping that their UEFA qualification set the tone for this group, as they topped Group I which also featured Croatia. They beat their Group D opponents 1-0 at home, lost away, but four goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and three from Alfred Finnbogason saw the 2016 Euro’s surprise package safely through to Russia.
Nigeria comfortably topped a very tough CAF Group B, seeing off Zambia, Cameroon, and Algeria to progress to Russia. Chelsea’s Victor Moses top-scored with three, while Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho netted twice.