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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2018 World Cup - who has qualified for the finals and who can get there

Eight down, 24 to go on the Road to Russia 2018.

The qualifying process for the 2018 World Cup, which began on March 12, 2015, is reaching its climax. 

So far, eight nations have booked their place to join host nation Russia in next year's tournament.

Qualified nations: Russia (hosts), Belgium, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea.

EUROPE (UEFA; 13 PLACES)

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018 sees seven groups of six nations and two groups of five. 

Russia qualify as hosts. Group...

 By John Duerden

Socceroos must overcome Syria foreign fortress in World Cup playoff

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson preview next month's World Cup qualifying playoff between Syria and Australia.
Tim Cahill discusses his new role with Australia and praises Thailand's resilience in their World Cup Qualifier.

Earlier this year, the Malaysian city of Malacca, which will host next month's 2018 AFC World Cup playoff, officially became "Melaka" in a bid to end years of confusion between the English and Bahasa spellings.

There has been some uncertainty in Australia too, with the Socceroos wondering about the location of the away leg of their showdown with Syria on Oct. 5. In the end, the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka was chosen by Asia's ruling body after Abu Dhabi and Doha had been mentioned as possible venues. The...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Mile Jedinak back for Australia to face Syria in 2018 AFC World Cup playoff

Mile Jedinak returns to Australia's squad set to face Syria, while Nikita Ruka Rukavytsya rejoins after a 3-year absence.
Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson preview next month's World Cup qualifying playoff between Syria and Australia.
Tim Cahill discusses his new role with Australia and praises Thailand's resilience in their World Cup Qualifier.
Tomi Juric was on the scoresheet as Australia now are made to wait over their 2018 World Cup hopes.
Australia's Tomi Juric feels his side could have easily won by five goals and now anxiously await Japan's result.

Captain Mile Jedinak has been recalled by head coach Ange Postecoglou for Australia's 2018 AFC World Cup playoff against Syria next month.

The Aston Villa midfielder missed the Socceroos' latest qualifiers against Japan and Thailand, as well as June's Confederations Cup, due to a groin injury.

But he made his comeback for the English second-tier side last week, and has been rewarded with a place in a 30-man preliminary squad announced on Tuesday.

SyriaSyria
AustraliaAustralia
ESPN3 12:00 PM UTC
Leg 1
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Postecoglou retained 22 of 23 players named for...

 By John Duerden

Edgardo Bauza replaces Van Marwijk as Saudi Arabia boss for World Cup

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson preview next month's World Cup qualifying playoff between Syria and Australia.

Just over a week after guiding Saudi Arabia to a fifth World Cup, Bert van Marwijk has been replaced as head coach by Edgardo Bauza.

In a shock move, Argentina's Bauza leaves his post in charge of United Arab Emirates to make the short trip to occupy the hot seat in Riyadh only nine months ahead of Russia 2018.

Van Marwijk, who took his native Netherlands to the final of the 2010 tournament, was appointed in August 2015 and sealed a place in Russia 2018 on Sept. 5 with a 1-0 home win over Japan...

 By AAP

Socceroos' World Cup playoff against Syria to be held in Malaysia

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson preview next month's World Cup qualifying playoff between Syria and Australia.
Tim Cahill discusses his new role with Australia and praises Thailand's resilience in their World Cup Qualifier.
Tomi Juric was on the scoresheet as Australia now are made to wait over their 2018 World Cup hopes.
Australia's Tomi Juric feels his side could have easily won by five goals and now anxiously await Japan's result.

Malaysia will host Syria's home match against Australia in a 2018 World Cup playoff, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced.

The Socceroos will head to the Hang Jebat Stadium for the Oct. 5 match before hosting the Syrians at Sydney's ANZ Stadium five days later.

The venue in the city of Malacca, two hours south of Kuala Lumpur, hosted Syria's home matches during the third round of AFC World Cup qualifying.

There had been reports that Syria had requested the match to be played in the...