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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...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Mexico federation poised to reveal fate of coach Miguel Herrera

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno says the US Gold Cup performance left questions ahead of Confederations Cup playoff against Mexico.
The ESPN FC crew react to reports that Mexico boss Miguel Herrera punched a journalist following their Gold Cup win, but Craig Burley is not finding too many positives in their record seventh Gold Cup title.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno reviews Mexico's 3-1 win over Jamaica in the Gold Cup final, where he feels Miguel Herrera put all the outside noise on the backburner.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley breaks down Mexico's 1-0 win over Costa Rica in the Gold Cup quarterfinals, as Andres Guardado's penalty proved to be the deciding goal.

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera will learn whether he stays or goes on Tuesday following a reported airport scuffle with a TV Azteca reporter.

The Mexico Football federation met on Tuesday to discuss Herrera's fate after the incident that allegedly took place at Philadelphia International Airport following El Tri's Gold Cup win over Jamaica. The news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.

Mexican television commentator Christian Martinoli on Monday accused Herrera of assaulting him in the TSA line at...

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...