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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.

Qualified nations: Brazil, Iran

EUROPE:

13 places

• European qualifying home page

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

 By Sam Borden

Chuck Blazer leaves complex legacy of corruption amid soccer's rise in U.S.

Sam Borden reflects on both the positive and negative influences that the late Chuck Blazer brought to football.
After the passing of Chuck Blazer, Gab Marcotti reflects on the complicated career of the former CONCACAF General Secretary.

Chuck Blazer had a blog.

It was -- and remains -- a fascinating read, a meandering diary of Blazer's life, work, meals, thoughts and journeys as one of the most powerful (and, as it turns out, corrupt) global soccer executives in recent memory.

There are photos -- of soccer games, of meetings, of Blazer's pet macaw, Max -- and there are stories about everything from birthday parties to important votes to significant personal accomplishments. For example, in 2008, Blazer titled an entry, "For the...

Former FIFA ExCo member turned informant Chuck Blazer dies at 72

Sam Borden reflects on both the positive and negative influences that the late Chuck Blazer brought to football.

Chuck Blazer, the disgraced American soccer executive whose admissions of corruption set off a global scandal that ultimately toppled FIFA president Sepp Blatter, has died. He was 72.

Blazer's death was announced Wednesday by his lawyers, Eric Corngold and Mary Mulligan. At a November 2013 court hearing during which Blazer entered guilty pleas to federal charges, Blazer said he had rectal cancer, diabetes and coronary artery disease.

In 2015, Blazer was banned from football for life by FIFA for...

Red Bull Arena to host U.S.-Costa Rica World Cup qualifier on Sept. 1

Herculez Gomez looks at the U.S.' new-look midfield and the options it gives Bruce Arena in their Gold Cup campaign.

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Soccer Federation finalized plans on Thursday to play its Sept. 1 World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

The Americans play Honduras four days later at San Pedro Sula, then complete the final round CONCACAF region qualifying on Oct. 6 against Panama at Orlando, Florida, and four days later at Trinidad and Tobago.

Recovering from an 0-2 start in the Hexagonal phase of qualification, the U.S. is now up to third with eight points, trailing...