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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...

United States to start World Cup qualifying in St. Louis on Nov. 13

Jurgen Klinsmann discusses the United States' Gold Cup performances and the high expectations moving forward.

The United States will open qualifying for the 2018 World Cup at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals announced on Sunday that their stadium will be used for the game on Nov. 13.

Given a bye in the first three rounds of qualifying along with the other powers of CONCACAF, the 34th-ranked United States was drawn into Group C on Saturday for the fourth round.

In addition to No. 64 Trinidad and Tobago, the group will include 105th-ranked Guatemala or No. 107 Antigua and Barbuda,...

United States draws Trinidad and Tobago in World Cup qualifying group

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alejandro Moreno break down the CONCACAF and UEFA World Cup qualifying draws.
ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol break down Scotland's World Cup qualifying group, where they'll meet an old frenemy in England.
The ESPN FC panel discuss the United States men's national teams loss to Jamaica in the Gold Cup, and how that loss ranks among the worst ever defeats for the USMNT.
The ESPN FC panel assert that no coach should be fired after one result, and note that the United States men's national team should stick with Jugen Klinsmann following his side's exit from the Gold Cup.

The United States will open World Cup qualifying in November in a four-nation group that includes Trinidad and Tobago.

The other opponents in Group C will be either Guatemala or Antigua and Barbuda, as well as Aruba or St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Mexico is in Group A with Honduras, Canada or Belize, and El Salvador or Curacao.

SPI simulations for 2018 World Cup qualifying

Avg. Finish
Avg. Pct
GROUP A
Mexico

1.3

95.2%
Honduras
2.7
46.2%
Canada
2.7
41.4%
El Salvador
3.3
17.3%
GROUP B
Costa Rica

1.5

88.4%
Panama
2.5
50.3%
Jamaica
2.5
48.6%
Haiti
3.5
12.7%
GROUP C
United States

1.1

98.9%
Trinidad & T
2.5
50.0%
Guatemala
2.5
49.9%
St Vincent & G
3.9
1.2%

Costa Rica got the toughest draw in potentially deadly Group B with Panama, Jamaica or Nicaragua, and Haiti or Grenada.

The top two nations in each group advance to the...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup qualifying draw: Spain land Italy in group stages

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alejandro Moreno break down the CONCACAF and UEFA World Cup qualifying draws.
ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol break down Scotland's World Cup qualifying group, where they'll meet an old frenemy in England.
Sepp Blatter has arrived in Russia ahead of the preliminary 2018 World Cup draw.
The U.N.'s Special Adviser for Sport believes Blatter should receive recognition for the positive aspects of his tenure.

The draw for the preliminary stages of the 2018 World Cup has been taken with France taking on Netherlands, Spain and Italy drawn in the same group and England finding themselves placed with Scotland.

Germany will start defending their World Cup title in a six-team UEFA pool where the Czech Republic seems the biggest barrier to advancing as group winners.

"I'm happy that we won't play against France or Italy," said former German international and current team official Oliver Bierhoff.

Italy, the...

CONCACAF outlines reform after FIFA corruption scandal

ESPN FC's Ross Dyer questions the impact CONCACAF's new reform will have.
Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner has denied he will make a plea deal with the FBI over Sepp Blatter's involvements in FIFA corruption.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop details former FIFA Vice President and CONCACAF president Jack Warner's indictment in the FIFA corruption probe.
U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie expands on CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb's involvement in soliciting and collecting bribes from sports marketing executives.
CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb discusses his belief that CONCACAF should have additional spots in the World Cup, explaining Europe should lose spots.
CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb discusses the state of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, citing there is far more parity with the emergence from the likes of Costa Rica and Panama, rather than the traditional United States and Mexico rivalry.
CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb discusses the improvements FIFA has made under Sepp Blatter, FIFA's contribution to CONCACAF and believes FIFA would benefit from being more transparent.
ESPN FC's Gabriele Marcotti addresses the latest news coming out of FIFA, with the 2026 World Cup bid process being postponed.

With its reputation in tatters following a corruption scandal, CONCACAF announced on Monday a reform framework that has been approved by the organization's Executive Committee.

The proposals for North and Central American and Caribbean's governing body contained in the framework were put forward by a three-man special committee consisting of U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani, and Mexico Football Federation president Justino Compean...