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English FA backs Platini

FIFA
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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...

 By Nick Miller

World Cup qualifying draw for Russia 2018 yields mouthwatering matchups

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol break down Scotland's World Cup qualifying group, where they'll meet an old frenemy in England.
ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alejandro Moreno break down the CONCACAF and UEFA World Cup qualifying draws.

With FIFA's World Cup qualifying draw now firmly in the books, Nick Miller analyses the biggest early storylines on the three-year march toward Russia.

Is an 'easy' group good for England?

The last time England were involved in a draw for an international competition, FA chairman Greg Dyke drew a finger across his throat to signify that he wasn't, to say the least, too happy with how tough it would be. Not this time, though, with England getting just about the perfect draw, against a selection...

Businessman Alejandro Burzaco pleads not guilty in FIFA scandal

Alejandro Burzaco is the third defendant to be arraigned in U.S. court following the FIFA scandal.

NEW YORK -- An Argentinian sports marketing executive pleaded not guilty in a U.S. court Friday in the massive racketeering and bribery case that has scandalised international soccer.

Alejandro Burzaco became the third of 14 defendants charged in the FIFI investigation to appear in federal court in Brooklyn. Prosecutors allege the defendants plotted to arrange bribes of more than $150 million -- tied to the award of broadcasting and hosting rights for the World Cup and other tournaments -- over...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

CONCACAF has not agreed to back Michel Platini, says CFU chief

Michel Platini has announced he will run for the FIFA presidency, immediately beconing the clear favourite for the role.
Get up to speed with FIFA presidental candidate Michel Platini's amazing record as a player
Michel Platini will stand as a candidate to replace Sepp Blatter as the next president of FIFA, world football's governing body.

CONCACAF has not agreed to back FIFA presidential hopeful Michel Platini, the head of the influential Caribbean Football Union (CFU) said on Thursday, saying such a claim is "just politics."

The governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean has 35 votes in the Feb. 26, 2015, election to replace outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Platini is the early front-runner, but CFU president Gordon Derrick said CONCACAF has not formally agreed to support him.

"I know that no one has...

 By Colin Udoh

Nigeria's World Cup qualifying challenges remain before Russia 2018

Fans of the Super Eagles will now be able to watch Nigeria's ANC qualifiers.
Nigeria have plenty of work to do if they are to make World Cup qualifying easy.

Last week's preliminary draw officially signalled the start of the long road to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the majority of the 209 member associations of FIFA and handed Nigeria a tie against either Djibouti or Swaziland in the second round of African qualifying.

Contrary to popular opinion -- borne of little else but fanciful nostalgia -- World Cup qualifying has never proved easy to negotiate for Nigeria. From the days when the Green Eagles, as they were previously known, were consistently...