Syria's World Cup fairytale to end all fairytales may be on the brink of being unwritten, but there are still plenty of other underdog stories to follow with interest as the various FIFA World Cup qualifications groups around the globe gear up towards the home straight. Atlases and Wikipedia at the ready, here's five countries that with a little luck might just qualify for the World Cup for the very first time... The Cranes took a hard fought point from a recent away clash with continental...
Azerbaijan currently sit fourth in Group C behind Germany, Northern Ireland and Czech Republic and are something of a long shot to make the playoffs, as one of the best second-placed teams.
However, in their favour the Milli have three of their remaining remaining five fixtures at home - where they already took a valuable scalp against Norway.
Their nearest rivals battling it out for the crucial second spot behind the Germans, the Czechs and the Northern Irish, both still face tough away trips to Baku.
Former Croatia World Cup hero Robert Prosinecki is their current head coach adding gravitas to a team with little history or gravitas in this tournament.
Montenegro, despite currently having the same number of points as Azerbaijan (7), would shock fewer people should they at least make the playoffs at the end of the qualifying campaign.
One of the world's newer footballing nations with a population roughly 10% the size of London still somehow manages to boast top level talent like Mirko Vucinic and Stevan Jovetic.
They beat Denmark in Copenhagen, earned a draw in Cluj against Romania, and also play three of their last five on home soil.
The top two of each of Asia's two third round groups qualify automatically, while the two third placed sides compete in a two legged playoff, before another decider against a CONCACAF side for the final berth.
Despite, the hoops that still need to be jumped through, after progressing steadily over the last few campaigns Uzbekistan look set to at least make the continental playoff, where they could face Australia, who have failed to break down the likes of Thailand, Iraq and Saudi Arabia so far in qualifying.
The White Wolves are currently ranked 63rd in the world rankings above Montenegro, Honduras and Scotland.
Burkina Faso lead their qualification group ahead of South Africa and Senegal after two games, knowing that only the one team can make the finals in Russia.
They face a tough double header home and away to Senegal but the Stallions are no pushovers and finished an impressive third at this year's Africa Cup of Nations, only falling to Egypt on penalties.
Jonathan Pitroipa, Bertrand Traore and Charles Kabore are the established European names in a strong side.
The Cranes took a hard fought point from a recent away clash with continental heavyweights Ghana, and sit two points off Egypt in Group E.
One of Egypt or Ghana will definitely miss out on a trip to Russia, but Uganda could yet stop either from booking their plane tickets.
21-year-old Farouk Miya is one of few Ugandans plying their trade in Europe. The young midfielder, who plays for Standard Liege, already has over 40 caps and 17 goals at international level.