World Cup update
AFRICA: The five home-and-home playoffs are under way, and after the first leg it's:
Burkina Faso 3, Algeria 2
Ivory Coast 3, Senegal 1
Nigeria 2, Ethiopia 1
Tunisia 0, Cameroon 0
Ghana 6, Egypt 1
The second legs will be played Nov. 16-19, and the team with the better aggregate score is on its way to Brazil.
ASIA: As previously mentioned, this is already set: Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea are automatically through, and Jordan won a playoff with Uzbekistan for the fifth spot and the right to an intercontinental playoff. Jordan's opponent is revealed below.
EUROPE:The group winners with automatic berths are Belgium, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, England and Spain. A pool of 8 - Croatia, Sweden, Romania, Iceland, Portugal, Greece, Ukraine and France - will be drawn into four home-and-home series, with the four winners on their way to the World Cup.
CONCACAF: The United States won Round 4, well known as the Hexagonal. Costa Rica and Honduras are also automatically through. Mexico, thanks to some late help Tuesday from its neighbors to the north, lives to fight another day as the fourth-place side and will take on New Zealand in an intercontinental playoff.
OCEANIA:New Zealand represents this region and will take on Mexico in a home-and-home playoff in November.
SOUTH AMERICA: With group play complete, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador are in, along with tournament host Brazil, which did not have to compete here since the hosts automatically qualify. Uruguay will take on Jordan in an intercontinental playoff.
So, all told, the following 43 nations are either in the World Cup or are playing for a shot at it:
We're inching closer to Brazil now with every international date on the calendar, and we'll know even more in about a month.
- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH