Champions Germany qualified with a head of steam, winning every game and finishing with a plus 39 goal difference. They were the sole side in UEFA qualification who won every game, and had the best goal difference; Thomas Muller and Sandro Wagner, who is not in Germany’s 23, led the scoring with five each, while four others, including Timo Werner, netted three.
South Korea marched through their first phase of AFC qualifying, going unbeaten in their group, but then finished second to a very capable Iran team in the third round of qualifying, scoring 11 but conceding 10. South Korea had three 0-0 draws and none of their games were decided by more than one goal in the third round. Spurs’ Son Heung-Min top-scored for South Korea with seven.
Mexico took CONCACAF qualification at a canter under the feisty and unpredictable Juan Carlos Osorio, topping their fourth round and fifth round groups and losing only once in 16 games. PSV’s Hirving Lozano top-scored for Mexico with four goals.
Sweden achieved qualification in the face of serious challenges: first they lost Zlatan, then they came second in a group featuring France and the Netherlands, and finally they overcame Italy in the play-offs. Janne Andersson’s team is well-organised and possessing a great team spirit, despite, or perhaps because of, a lack of superstars.