So here we all are. The final remaining slots have been filled and now we have the full compliment of nations for what promises to be a dramatic World Cup in Russia next year.
That meant it was time to call in Goal’s Global Fan Panel to find out how you consumed the biggest footballing stories over the past fortnight.
Consisting of the some of the most devoted fans of the beautiful game, of all ages, genders and ethnicities, from all across the world, Goal are giving football fans a voice with our Global Fan Panel.
And this week, after a dramatic few days that saw Italy miss out and Peru make their first World Cup finals in 35 years, we now also know what many of the competitors will be wearing as some of the world’s biggest sporting brands get ready to market their new threads.
Take a look at our findings below and see if your sentiments are shared by your fellow football enthusiasts, both home and abroad.
As if the final round of the regular World Cup qualifying wasn’t thrilling enough, last week brought a remarkable climax to the process. Dreams were realised and, in Italy’s case, an apocalypse struck.
Two-legged affairs across the globe gripped world football’s consciousness like few domestic competitions ever could.
And a huge majority of Global Fan Panel members from all across the globe tuned into the action, with the lowest turnout – in Africa – still seeing over three quarters of fans enjoy the contests.
The aforementioned Italian catastrophe was unsurprisingly the most-watched encounter of the final rounds, which attracted onlookers in huge numbers from all across the world.
A 1-0 victory for the hosts in the first leg in Solena left the tie wonderfully poised ahead of the second-leg in Milan.
And a stunning goalless draw saw four-times world champions Italy suffer the unthinkable.
The only other match that could even come close to it was Peru’s clash with New Zealand, though even that attracted only local football fans – with 25% of South American fans tuning in to see the Kiwis’ hopes dashed as Peru made a long-awaited return to the world stage.
We all love our national teams and every four years the World Cup unites nations like few other events in the world. But we’re also all lovers of the game as a whole, and some of us will adopt other countries to cheer along in Russia next year.
That is certainly the case with our Global Fan Panel, who almost unanimously agreed they would wear jerseys of a country that is not their own.
A whopping 86% of APAC and MENA football fans said they wear different colours, likely due to the smaller number of representatives at the World Cup from those regions.
Europe will once again be the most-represented continent at the World Cup and so it came as no surprise that only 58% of European football fans will stick to supporting their own team in 2018.
As the tournament approaches, many of us will go shopping in preparation for the festival of football.
We all want the latest gear to pledge solidarity with our teams, and the world’s leading sporting brands will go to war for their market share over the next few months.
Adidas was the most popular choice of manufacturer among our Fan Panel, though many will be after the latest Nike strips.
Germany and Argentina were the most popular choice of shirts but, interestingly, the threads worn by Belgium’s golden generation proved particularly popular in North America.