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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

Jurgen Klinsmann spoke ahead of their WCQ's, stressing the time is now for younger players to step up amid key absences.
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...