For more than two and a half years, the 2018 World Cup Russia qualifiers have witnessed hundreds of matches that have qualified 32 teams for the international competition.
Daily News Egypt sheds light on the smallest three countries in terms of population censuses participating in the most important football event in the world.
The smallest country to qualify for the competition is Iceland, with a population of about 320,000.
Iceland, which had a big surprise in the UEFA Euro 2016, reaching the quarter-finals of the tournament, continued its series of football successes to top its group with 22 points and qualifying for the World Cup.
In a group of teams with a long history in football, such as the Turkish and Croatian teams, the number of professional players registered with the Football Association of Iceland does not exceed 100 players.
The country’s population is about 330,000, while it has about 900,000 sheep, according to official Icelandic statistics.
Panama is also one of the surprises of the World Cup, as the country qualified for the World Cup after taking the qualifying spot for the North American and Caribbean continent.
The spot came at the expense of the Costa Rican team in a historic match, in which Panama won over Costa Rica with two goals.
The third surprise is Costa Rica, which is participating in the World Cup for the fifth time in its history, despite the population of the country being no more than 4 million people.
Costa Rica, ranked second in the North American and Caribbean qualifiers, has a number of professional players in international leagues.
For the first time in its history, Russia will host the FIFA World Cup between 14 June and 15 July 2018.
The tournament will be played in 11 Russian cities: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Kazan, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Rostov-on-Don.