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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.

EUROPE:

13 places

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018...

U.S. team youth need to push older players out - Jurgen Klinsmann

USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann talks squad selection ahead of the United States' next round of World Cup Qualifying matches.
Our first weekly update of American players abroad includes Lynden Gooch's Premier League debut for Sunderland.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview that, with the team about halfway through the current World Cup cycle, he wishes more young players were pushing for spots.

Klinsmann hailed the U.S.' highly respectable fourth place finish at the Copa America and said he was confident that his side would carry the momentum from that tournament into the last two matches of the current round of World Cup qualifying.

On Friday, the U.S. will...

'Difference-maker' Sacha Kljestan ready to seize latest U.S. team chance

The ESPN FC guys review Jurgen Klinsmann's selections for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Kljestan US team 2013
Sacha Kljestan most recently appeared for the U.S. in 2014 in a 2-0 loss to Ukraine.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sacha Kljestan thought his first U.S. national team call-up in more than two years was a prank.

It was around 11 p.m. Sunday night when Kljestan received a text from U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann giving him the news he had long waited for. In that moment, the New York Red Bulls midfielder didn't recognize the number, and his troll deflector shield immediately went up.

"It was a 949 phone number, which is where my brother lives and close to where I grew up, so I thought it was...

Reasons for hope, reasons for worry for U.S. in World Cup qualifying

USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann talks squad selection ahead of the United States' next round of World Cup Qualifying matches.

As the U.S. heads into a pair of important World Cup qualifiers starting with Friday's tilt at St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the question facing national team fans is this: How worried should they be about their country's chances of reaching the final round of regional qualifying for Russia 2018? In truth, not very.

The U.S. is coming off a successful summer. It finished fourth at a Copa America played on home soil, and the Americans are the clear favorites in both upcoming games, the second...

Julian Green on U.S. radar for upcoming matches - Jurgen Klinsmann

USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann talks squad selection ahead of the United States' next round of World Cup Qualifying matches.
USMNT midfielder Alejandro Bedoya opens up about the unfavorable playing conditions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Julian Green is back on the U.S. national team radar after making Bayern Munich's first team squad for the new Bundesliga season, but U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said that the 21-year-old needs playing time to earn a recall in October.

Green wasn't named to Klinsmann's squad for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Friday at St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago Sept. 6 in Jacksonville, Florida.

He made his U.S. debut in April 2014 and played in that summer's World Cup, scoring a...