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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.

Qualified nations: Brazil, Iran

EUROPE:

13 places

• European qualifying home page

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

Former FIFA ExCo member turned informant Chuck Blazer dies at 72

Sam Borden reflects on both the positive and negative influences that the late Chuck Blazer brought to football.

Chuck Blazer, the disgraced American soccer executive whose admissions of corruption set off a global scandal that ultimately toppled FIFA president Sepp Blatter, has died. He was 72.

Blazer's death was announced Wednesday by his lawyers, Eric Corngold and Mary Mulligan. At a November 2013 court hearing during which Blazer entered guilty pleas to federal charges, Blazer said he had rectal cancer, diabetes and coronary artery disease.

In 2015, Blazer was banned from football for life by FIFA for...

Red Bull Arena to host U.S.-Costa Rica World Cup qualifier on Sept. 1

Herculez Gomez looks at the U.S.' new-look midfield and the options it gives Bruce Arena in their Gold Cup campaign.

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Soccer Federation finalized plans on Thursday to play its Sept. 1 World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

The Americans play Honduras four days later at San Pedro Sula, then complete the final round CONCACAF region qualifying on Oct. 6 against Panama at Orlando, Florida, and four days later at Trinidad and Tobago.

Recovering from an 0-2 start in the Hexagonal phase of qualification, the U.S. is now up to third with eight points, trailing...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

United States' goal to finish second or third in World Cup qualifying - Arena

U.S. coach Bruce Arena believes the competition for the first three spots in CONCACAF will go down to the last game.

United States head coach Bruce Arena says it's unlikely his side will catch Mexico atop the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table, and has circled the U.S.'s upcoming match with Costa Rica as "critically important" for their hopes of playing in Russia next summer.

Arena has led a U.S. turnaround in the table since taking over for Jurgen Klinsmann in November, defeating Trinidad & Tobago and drawing at Mexico to strengthen the country's World Cup bid.

The four points saw the U.S. rise to third in the...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Costa Rica hangs on to beat T&T; Panama and Honduras play to draw

Costa Rica celeb vs T and T 170613
Costa Rica players celebrate after Bryan Ruiz scored the winner against T&T in a World Cup qualifier.

Costa Rica preserved its outright lead in second-place ahead of the United States with a 2-1 win against Trinidad and Tobago in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Tuesday night.

The hosts took the lead from a corner kick in the first minute, with Francisco Calvo heading home from Joel Campbell's cross.

But T&T clawed one back through Kevin Molino in the 35th minute, as the Minnesota United player fired home a Joevin Jones pass from just outside Costa Rica's penalty area.

Bryan...