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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 Jason Dasey

Time for Malaysia to ring in changes after World Cup qualifying shame

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson recap Malaysia's 10-goal loss to United Arab Emirates in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Malaysian football hit a new low when the national team were trounced 10-0 by United Arab Emirates in an AFC World Cup qualifier on Thursday night.

The Malaysians have failed to win a game in 2015 and have conceded 16 goals in their last two matches, scoring none. They are bottom of Group A, below Timor-Leste on goal difference.

Here are five thoughts on what needs to be done to rescue the wounded Harimau Malaya.

1. Thank you Dollah and goodbye

Dollah Salleh did a fantastic job to guide Malaysia...

 By Kelvin Leong

Baihakki says Singapore outclassed Syria despite losing WCQ

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson break down Singapore's 1-0 loss to Syria in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Veteran defender Baihakki Khaizan believes that Singapore were unlucky in their 1-0 loss to Syria in their AFC World Cup qualifier on Thursday night.

It was their first defeat in three competitive games, having beaten Cambodia and drawn with Japan in June. 

An Ouday Abdul Jaffal goal in the 59th minute gave Syria all three points in the game played in Muscat, Oman. It was a result that looked unlikely in the first half with Singapore creating numerous goalscoring opportunities.

Having...

 By Kelvin Leong

Singapore in respectable defeat while Malaysia routed again in WC qualifiers

Singapore lost narrowly to Syria in Oman in their World Cup Group E qualifier on Thursday. Photo credit: FAS

Singapore's two-match unbeaten run in the World Cup Group E qualifiers came to an unlucky end following a 1-0 defeat to Syria in Muscat, Oman, on Thursday.

The Southeast Asian giants started quickly out of their blocks, looking to continue their impressive form that saw them beat Cambodia 4-0 and hold Japan to a goalless draw in Saitama in June.

Bernd Stange's charges outplayed their opponents, but were downed by a lone goal from Ouday Abdul Jaffal in the second period.

SyriaSyria
SingaporeSingapore
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In a strange tactical move,...