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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

Ricketts powers Canada; Nicaragua stun Jamaica in World Cup qualifying

Tosaint Ricketts was the star as Canada cruised past Belize on Friday night.

Tosaint Ricketts bagged a brace as Canada defeated Belize 3-0 in their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying third-round match on Friday.

Ricketts, who also picked up a yellow card on the night, scored in the 25th and 64th minutes.

Atiba Hutchinson then completed the scoring in the 90th to hand Canada a comfortable home win.

A late Jamaica comeback could not overcome a three-goal deficit as Nicaragua, who are in this stage for the first time in their history, secured an improbable 3-2 victory over the...

 By PA Sport

Ex-South Africa official questions $10m FIFA payment

The former French international captain is favoured by many to take over as FIFA president after Blatter steps down. His former French international teammate, Luis Fernandez, speaks his praises and supports his decision to run for the position.
Former South Korean FA president Chung Mong-joon has vowed to fix "corrupt" FIFA after formally announcing his bid to replace Sepp Blatter at the helm of world football's governing body.

FIFA is facing further questions over its role in channelling a $10 million payment through its accounts after fresh disclosures about South Africa's role in the scandal.

A former senior official of the South African FA (SAFA) has claimed its executive board had been kept in the dark about the payment, which is alleged to have been as payment for World Cup votes.

It comes after a freedom of information request by South Africa's news group Media24 revealed that apart from two letters, no SAFA records...

U.S. prosecutor seeks extradition of more FIFA defendants

Swiss authorities said that one of the seven FIFA officials arrested in May has been extradited to the U.S.
The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago has announced that he has received an extradition request from the United States over Jack Warner, while Warner himself remains defiant and claims the Attorney General owes him money.
U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie expands on CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb's involvement in soliciting and collecting bribes from sports marketing executives.

NEW YORK -- Lawyers for top football officials detained overseas in the FIFA bribery scandal are negotiating with U.S. authorities over coming to the United States to face racketeering and other charges, a prosecutor said on Friday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Norris told a judge in federal court in Brooklyn that there are ongoing extradition negotiations "with counsel of a number of other defendants" in a case that sent shockwaves through the soccer world. Norris didn't go into specifics and had...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Miguel Herrera admits scuffle with reporter in his apology

The Mexico Football Federation voted to sack coach Miguel Herrera following an alleged incident that took place at Philadelphia International Airport.
The ESPN FC crew react to reports that Mexico boss Miguel Herrera punched a journalist following their Gold Cup win, and Craig Burley is not finding too many positives in their record seventh Gold Cup title.

Ousted Mexico national team coach Miguel Herrera said he will "return as exactly the same person" in an apology letter and first public acknowledgement of an incident that took place at Philadelphia International Airport with a TV Azteca reporter.

"I want to publicly apologize to the fans, the coaching staff, players, Mexico Football Federation and the media for my behavior in the regretful incident that I had with a commentator," Herrera said in the statement. "I understand that this is not an attitude...