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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

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.



13 places

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018 sees seven groups of six nations and two groups of five. 


Arena excited and prepared for second term in charge of US national team

ESPN FC's Doug McIntyre assesses where Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones will fit best in Bruce Arena's team.
Bruce Arena joins Taylor Twellman to discuss what he hopes to accomplish as the new U.S. men's national team coach.
Bruce Arena joins ESPN FC to discuss his return as head coach of the United States men's national team.
The FC panel address the need for a short-term fix for the USMNT, but discuss if Bruce Arena fits into a long-term role.
ESPN's Jeff Carlisle gives insight into Sunil Gulati's decision to fire Klinsmann and Bruce Arena's potential rehiring.

NEW YORK -- The ink on Bruce Arena's contract was barely dry when he walked into the Belamar hotel in Manhattan Beach, California, on the morning of Nov. 22. It was just 30 minutes after Arena signed on for a second stint as coach of the U.S. men's national team, but the former LA Galaxy boss literally showed up with a plan: a binder containing names of his player pool and a list of potential invitees to the Americans' year-opening January camp.

It shouldn't be surprising that Arena came prepared....

 By Tom Marshall

Confederations Cup offers Mexico rare opportunity to pit wits vs. top teams

Mexico will hope to advance to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup next summer.

The importance of Paul Aguilar's stunning goal to win the CONCACAF Cup against the United States in October 2015 may have initially gone unnoticed wrapped up in the emotions of the rivalry, but now that the draw for next June's Confederations Cup has been made, its worth is very clear.

Mexico plays a lot of games -- 23 in 2015, 15 in 2016 and likely more than 20 in 2017 -- but not many have the competitive elements or hostile environment that coach Juan Carlos Osorio so desires. During 2016, Mexico...