Mexico, Uruguay nail down final World Cup spots

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Mexico and Uruguay earned the final two spots for next year's World Cup Wednesday, completing the long qualifying process for soccer's biggest show.

After struggling throughout qualifying and almost missing out on the World Cup, Mexico completed a two-match domination of New Zealand in their intercontinental playoff series.


Mexico won Wednesday's match in Wellington 4-2 for a 9-3, two-match aggregate total. Uruguay played Jordan to a scoreless draw, but had all but clinched its World Cup bid with a 5-0 victory in the first leg of that series.

With all 32 teams having been determined for next year's gathering in Brazil, the next major step will be the draw that will place those teams into eight groups. After round-robin play, the top two from each group will advance to the knockout portion of the month-long tournament.

The top eight seeds for the World Cup have already been determined with Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland and Uruguay earning that designation. None of those teams will be placed in the same group.

Earlier this week the African representatives to the World Cup were determined with Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and the Ivory Coast all winning their two-match series.


France, Greece, Croatia and Portugal also earned their way into the World Cup this week in playoffs involving group runner-ups from European qualifying.

The rest of the World Cup field will be made up of Italy, the Netherlands, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russia, England, Australia, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Chili, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras and the United States.

The World Cup will begin on June 12 in Sao Paulo. The championship game will take place July 13 in Rio de Janeiro.

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