Brazil qualified with real confidence from the CONMEBOL section, losing only their first game away in Chile before going unbeaten, scoring the most goals with 41 and conceding the fewest, 11.
Costa Rica topped their fourth round group in CONCACAF qualifying, going through to the ‘Hex’ with Panama. The ‘Hex’, a six team final round, saw Costa Rica come second behind Mexico, with both teams comfortably ahead of the chasing pack. Christian Bolanos and Marco Urena top-scored for Costa Rica with four goals.
Serbia did well to top a tough group featuring the Republic of Ireland and Euro 2016’s surprise package Wales, as well as a strong, if uninspiring, Austrian team, who were the only side to beat the Serbs. Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic top scored in the group with six goals, while Southampton’s Dusan Tadic netted four.
Switzerland came an expected second to Portugal in UEFA’s Group B in qualifying on goal difference, seeing off three much weaker teams and Hungary, the only side who might have pushed them; the 14 point gap between the top two and Hungary in third was the largest in any UEFA qualification group, though, showing the gulf in quality between the sides. Switzerland then beat Northern Ireland 1-0 on aggregate in the play-off round with a penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez the difference. Haris Seferovic top-scored for the Swiss with four.