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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...

South Sudan, Liberia defy CAF and pledge votes for Infantino, Prince Ali

The African football confederation announced its support for Bahrain's Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa in the upcoming FIFA presidential election.

GENEVA -- Two FIFA voters have defied African soccer leaders by endorsing rival candidates in the presidential election for Sepp Blatter's successor.

South Sudan pledged its vote for Gianni Infantino, the UEFA general secretary from Switzerland, and Liberia declared for former FIFA vice president Prince Ali Al Hussein of Jordan on Saturday.

They followed Egypt, which Prince Ali said publicly promised its vote to him on Friday, hours after a key move by the Confederation of African Football's executive...

CAF backs Sheikh Salman of Bahrain for FIFA president

Here are the five candidates who will stand for election to be president of FIFA, the election to be held February 26.
Star support including Jose Mourinho were on hand for FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino at his event in London.
FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino says he wants responsibility of restoring football's image as FIFA president.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti gives a run down of the FIFA presidential candidates ahead of the election.

KIGALI, Rwanda -- The African football confederation says it is backing Sheikh Salman of Bahrain in this month's FIFA presidential election.

The announcement was made by Confederation of African Football vice presidents Suketu Patel and Almamy Kabele Camara at a news conference following an executive committee meeting in Rwanda on Friday.

The decision to back the Asian football confederation president gives a major boost to the Bahraini royal's hopes of succeeding Sepp Blatter as the head of the...

Ebola-free Guinea cleared to host World Cup qualifying matches

The Confederation of African Football says it has ended a ban on Guinea hosting international matches after the country was declared free of Ebola.

Health concerns forced Guinea to play their first home qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup in Morocco.

CAF wrote to Guinea's football federation on Monday lifting a ban which was imposed in August 2014 and applied to national and club teams. CAF says it acted after the World Health Organization confirmed last week that Guinea was clear of the Ebola...

Orlando Pirates, Etoile du Sahel ready for CAF Confederations Cup final

Orlando Pirates were able to beat Al-Ahly in the semifinals on this improbable cup run. But can they win it all?

The continent's final cup competition of the year, the CAF Confederation Cup, reaches its climax as Etoile du Sahel and Orlando Pirates compete for the second tier title. Even though this trophy does not hold the same glory as the Champions League, the Tunisians and the South Africans are promising a tough fight. Elsewhere, there has been some movement among national coaches and the Road to Rio is about to begin for Africa's U23 sides.

CAF Confederation Cup

Orlando Pirates and Etoile de Sahel...