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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. boss Jurgen Klinsmann hopeful of quick Clint Dempsey return

Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer joins the FC crew to discuss Clint Dempsey being sidelined with an irregular heartbeat.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann is optimistic that Clint Dempsey, ruled out of the national team's two upcoming World Cup qualifying matches because of an irregular heartbeat, won't be sidelined for long.

The Seattle Sounders announced last week that the United States' active scoring leader -- the 33-year-old Dempsey has 52 goals in 130 career appearances -- would be held out as he undergoes medical evaluations.

Dempsey missed the Sounders' 4-2 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sunday. He was also left...

U.S. team adds New York Red Bulls' Sacha Kljestan, loses Brooks to injury

MLSsoccer.com's Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle analyzes how important Sacha Kljestan is to the New York Red Bulls following their 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution.

U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has added New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan to the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Meanwhile, Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks will not join the team in camp after suffering from back issues, U.S. Soccer said on Monday.

The U.S. team faces St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2 and Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 6.

Kljestan has earned 46 caps and scored four goals since making his national team debut in 2007.