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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.



13 places

• European qualifying home page

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


ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Bruce Arena: March qualifiers call for experienced U.S. squad

Bruce Arena tells ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman he has enjoyed working with the players in camp with the U.S.

United States coach Bruce Arena says March's World Cup qualifiers won't be "the right environment" for players new to the national team.

Arena brought in seven uncapped players for this month's training camp, most notably LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget, but there are also a number of veterans.

And Arena told ESPN's Taylor Twellman that the importance of the March qualifiers played a factor in his decision to call up players like Brad Evans, Chris Wondolowski and DaMarcus Beasley.