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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

World Cup qualifying: Papua New Guinea claim final place in third round

Papua New Guinea, the lowest-ranked non-European side left in World Cup qualifying, booked their place in the third round in Oceania with an 8-0 thrashing of Samoa at the OFC Nations Cup on Sunday.

The second round of qualifying in the Oceania region doubles as the OFC Nations Cup, taking place in Papua New Guinea, with the overall winners going on to take part in next summer's Confederations Cup in Russia.

PNG, who have never before advanced through the group stage of the OFC Nations Cup in...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup qualifying: Fiji and Solomon Islands through, New Zealand win

Fiji and Solomon Islands booked their places in the third round of Oceania World Cup qualifying -- but only on goal difference ahead of Vanuatu.

Fiji met Vanuatu knowing they only had to avoid defeat by three goals to secure their place, but also in the knowledge they would likely need at least a point to advance to the semifinals of the OFC Nations Cup.

The second round of qualifying in the Oceania region doubles as the OFC Nations Cup, taking place in Papua New Guinea, with the winners...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup qualifying: New Caledonia and Tahiti move through to round three

New Caledonia and Tahiti booked their places in the third round of Oceania World Cup qualifying with a game to spare.

New Caledonia romped to victory against Samoa, racing away to a 7-0 win in the OFC Nations Cup.

It took 18 minutes for them to take the lead, Roy Kayara scoring past goalkeeper Faalavelvae Matagi. Kevin Nemia doubled the advantage in the 28th minute and shortly afterwards Kayara bagged his second of the match.

Cesar Lolohea scored from the spot seven minutes before...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup qualifying: New Zealand thrash Vanuatu to book passage

Chris Wood, New Zealand
Chris Wood netted twice in the win over Vanuatu.

New Zealand cruised into the third round of Oceania World Cup qualifying with a 5-0 thrashing of Vanuatu in the OFC Nations Cup.

The All Whites' goals came in the first half, as coach Anthony Hudson also moved his team to the brink of a place in next week's OFC Nations Cup semifinals.

Captain Chris Wood netted twice in the opening six minutes, before Michael McGlinchey added the third in the 10th minute. Rory Fallon made it 4-0 on 19 minutes with Kosta Barbarouses,...