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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...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup qualifying, one year out: Where things stand across the globe

Shaka Hislop reveals an international edition of his power rankings, listing the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup.

With one year to go until the World Cup kicks off, we asked writers from around the world to summarise the state of qualifying play in their region. 

• World Cup qualifying -- How it works

EUROPE: 13 World Cup places

• European qualifying home page

Who's on track to qualify?

Most of the major nations are on course, though Euro 2016 finalists Portugal and France may require second-place playoffs to make it. France's 2-1 loss in Sweden on Jun. 9, courtesy of a...

Solomon Islands book World Cup playoff against New Zealand

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Solomon Islands are through to the Oceania World Cup qualifying playoff after securing top spot in Group B on Tuesday.

They needed just a point from their final match away to Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby, but were up against it when Raymond Gunemba put the home side in front after 18 minutes.

But PNG's hopes were hit when Felix Komolong was sent off just after the half hour, with Henry Fa'arodo then equalising from the resulting penalty.

Jerry Donga scored what proved to...

 By PA Sport

Solomon Islands close in on World Cup playoff

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Solomon Islands moved a step closer to a World Cup regional playoff against New Zealand after beating Papua New Guinea 3-2 on Friday.

Micah Lea'Alafa's 74th-minute winner clinched a dramatic Oceania Group B win in Honiara that leaves Solomon Islands needing only to avoid defeat against the same opponents on Tuesday, to secure a clash against the Kiwis.

The winners from the Oceania playoff, for which New Zealand qualified with comfort from Group A, will take on a South American side for a place in...

Oceania confederation backs U.S.-led 2026 World Cup bid

Herculez Gomez delves into the 2026 World Cup hopes of the United States after Bruce Arena's recent comments.

The United States, Canada and Mexico bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup is supported by the OFC, the 11-nation Oceania football confederation.

Oceania says it also agrees the bid should have "an exclusive period of negotiation" with FIFA for the next year.

The 211 FIFA member federations can decide on May 11 to give the North American neighbours a March 2018 deadline without rivals to show their bid is technically sound.

The bid launched this month is currently FIFA's only realistic option for the...