Belgium went unbeaten in UEFA qualification in Group H, seeing off Greece, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku scored 11 and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard six; indeed, the Premier League are well represented in Belgium’s squad, with players from Spurs, West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Crystal Palace as well.
England also went unbeaten in their group in UEFA qualification, seeing off Slovakia and Scotland, among others. Gareth Southgate did superbly to steady the ship after Sam Allardyce left, and England only conceded three goals in ten qualifying games, the best record in European qualification. Harry Kane top-scored for the Three Lions with five goals while nine players scored a goal apiece.
Panama have never played in a World Cup before, despite nearly reaching 2014; the country’s president was so delighted, he declared a national holiday immediately after. Panama achieved this as runners-up in Group B of the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying, behind Costa Rica; they then finished behind Costa Rica (again), and Mexico, in the fifth round, to secure automatic qualification. Gabriel Torres scored three, while Luis Tejada and Roman Torres both scored twice.
Tunisia secured automatic qualification by beating Mauritania 4-2 on aggregate in the second round of CAF qualifying, then seeing off DR Congo, Libya, and Guinea in Group A of the third round, dropping only four points in six games. Youssef Msakni of Al-Duhail top scored for the Eagles with three goals. Tunisia will be appearing in their fifth World Cup, the first since 2006 – they have never won a World Cup game, though they managed a 0-0 with West Germany in 1974 and have drawn once at each of their four tournaments.