This paper investigates the fairness of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying competition via Monte Carlo simulations. The qualifying probabilities are calculated for 102 nations, all teams except for African and European countries. A method is proposed to quantify the degree of unfairness. Although the qualifications within four FIFA confederations are constructed fairly, serious differences are found between the continents: for instance, a South American team could have tripled its chances by playing in Asia. Choosing a fixed matchup in the inter-continental play-offs instead of the current random draw can reduce the unfairness of the competition. The move of Australia from the Oceanian to the Asian zone is shown to increase its probability of participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup by about 65%. Our results provide important insights for the administrators on how to reallocate the qualifying berths.