The numbers are increasing and the 32 nations to compete in Russia will be known in a matter of weeks.

While Russia qualified since winning the hosting right, others booked their qualification tickets last weekend, with more to come.

As at Monday, a total of 15 countries have qualified, including two African teams, with 17 to earn their spots.

Bounce News examines the narrow path to greatness for the 5 countries that qualified over the weekend.


Spain

The South Africa FIFA 2010 World Cup winners qualified for the 2018 edition after beating Albania 3-0 on Friday to stay top of Europe’s Group G table with 25 points after nine games.

La Roja claimed their Russia 2018 World Cup spot and took their unbeaten World Cup Qualifiers run to a staggering 62 games.

Other countries in Group G are Italy, who are seated second place with 20 points, Albania (13 points), Israel (12 points), Macedonia (8 points) and Liechtenstein (0 point).

Nigeria

The Super Eagles qualified for a 6th FIFA World Cup after beating Zambia 1-0 on Saturday.

The win means Nigeria, the first African side to reach Russia 2018, stretched their lead on Group B to 13 points, ending Zambia’s dream of a first World Cup appearance.

Other teams in the group are Algeria and defending African champions, the domitable Lions of Cameroon.

Costa Rica

The 2014 FIFA World Cup quarter-finalists got the one point they needed on Sunday to reach the 2018 edition.

An injury-time equaliser from Kendall Watson saw Costa Rica book a ticket to Russia 2018 with a 1-1 draw at home against Honduras.

Costa Rica, who will be making their fifth appearance, join Mexico from the CONCACAF region who have already qualified for the 2018 World Cup.

Poland

Poland booked a ticket to Russia 2018 with a resounding 4-2 home victory over Montenegro on Sunday.

Poland had gone ahead in the 6th and 16th minutes through Krzysztof Maczynski and Kamil Grosicki, but Montenegro scored two goals in five minutes through Stefan Mugosa (78) and Zarko Tomasevic (83) to draw level.

But the hosts retook the lead two minutes later through Robert Lewandowski before an own goal from Filip Stojkovic put the game to rest.

Lewandowski’s goal made him the first ever European player to score 16 goals in a World Cup Qualifier campaign.

Egypt

Egypt is the second African country to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after beating Congo 2-1 on Sunday, ending a 28-year absence.

The North African country now joins Nigeria who beat Zambia 1-0 on Saturday to qualify.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scored late as the Pharaohs qualify for their first World Cup since 1990.