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2018 World Cup qualifying - how it works

The qualifying process for the 2018 World Cup began on March 12, 2015 with preliminary ties between the 12 lowest-ranked nations in Asia.

Chiquito Do Carmo of Timor-Leste had the honour of scoring the very first goal on the road to Russia in a 4-1 victory at home to Mongolia.

There are 31 places up for grabs, joining hosts Russia.

The draw for the main sections of qualifying takes place on Saturday, July 25, 2015.


13 places

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018...

U.S. team adds New York Red Bulls' Sacha Kljestan for injured John Brooks's Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle analyzes how important Sacha Kljestan is to the New York Red Bulls following their 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution.

U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has added New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan to the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers to replace injured Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks.

The U.S. team faces St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2 and Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 6.

Brooks will not join the team in camp after suffering from back issues, U.S. Soccer said on Monday. 

Kljestan has earned 46 caps and scored four goals since making his national team debut in 2007.

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Jozy Altidore returns to United States squad for World Cup qualifiers

The ESPN FC guys review Jurgen Klinsmann's selections for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The FC crew assess Jozy Altidore's return to form for Toronto FC and speculate on whether he can stay fit and healthy.

Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes have been left off the United States' squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers in September, but Jozy Altidore has returned.

U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann selected a veteran-laden squad to take on against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, and Trinidad & Tobago four days later, including currently in-form Toronto FC striker Altidore who missed the U.S.'s Copa America Centenario campaign this summer with a hamstring injury.

Dempsey has been left off due to...

 By Tom Marshall

Giovani dos Santos, Carlos Vela left out of Mexico squad for qualifiers

Giovani dos Santos sits down with SportsCenter's Diana Russini to talk about his move to MLS and his absence from El Tri.

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Giovani dos Santos and Real Sociedad's Carlos Vela have been left out of coach Juan Carlos Osorio's first Mexico squad since El Tri crashed out of the Copa America with a 7-0 loss to Chile at the quarterfinal stage.

Dos Santos and Vela missed out on the summer tournament and are once again sidelined, even with strikers Javier Hernandez and Oribe Peralta both missing the World Cup qualifying games against El Salvador away (Sept. 3) and Honduras at home (Sept. 7) due to injury.