FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying matches return on Sept. 6. As a full slate of contests approaches, we’re bringing you a breakdown of all six confederations, where teams stand and how they can earn a coveted place in Brazil.
Africa: Confederation of African Football (CAF)
How many countries compete? 52
How many teams qualify for the World Cup? 5
How does it all work? The top 40 African teams are placed into 10 groups of four. After six matches, one home and one away against the three other teams in the group, the 10 group-winning teams advance to face each other in two-legged matches. The five teams that win those contests earn qualification.
When will we know? There’s one match to go in the group stage. The top 10 teams will duke it out in October and November.
Who’s in so far? No one yet
With one match to go, these countries lead their groups: Ethiopia (two points on South Africa), Tunisia (two points on Cape Verde), Ghana (one point on Zambia), Congo (one point on Burkina Faso), Nigeria (two points on Malawi), Cameroon (one point on Libya), Senegal (one point on Uganda)
Morocco, Kenya, Mali, Togo and any other African country you can name
What are the upcoming matches to watch?
With only one more match to play in the group stage before the playoffs are played, there are a host of critical contests.
Ghana v Zambia
Only one point separates the two teams in Group D. Zambia will advance with a win, while Ghana only needs a draw to move on.
Ethiopia v Central African Republic, South Africa v Botswana
Three teams can win Group A. Ethiopia could clinch the playoff place with a win. Failing that, South Africa and Botswana each could steal the place with three points and help.
Tunisia v Cape Verde Islands
This match will decide Group B. Cape Verde needs a win. Tunisia needs anything but a loss.
Niger v Congo, Burkina Faso v Gabon
Congo leads Group E and would advance with a win or a draw and a Gabon victory. Burkina Faso trails by one point, while Gabon trails by three. Each could advance with a win and help from Niger.
Nigeria v Malawi
This is another exciting contest with everything on the table. A Malawi victory would see them sneak past Nigeria, while a draw will do for the Group F table-leading Super Eagles.
Cameroon v Libya
Fans are in for a similarly exciting affair in Group I where Cameroon only needs to avoid defeat against Libya to move to the playoffs. Libya will advance with a win.
Senegal v Uganda
The schedule works in supporters’ favor again as first-place Senegal facing second-place Uganda in the final Group J match with only a point separating the two sides.
Coming tomorrow: Asian Football Confederation