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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...

England to play Scotland at Wembley on Friday, November 11

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol break down Scotland's World Cup qualifying group, where they'll meet an old frenemy in England.
The ESPN FC crew break down Group D of Euro 2016 qualifying, where Poland still remain a point clear of Germany atop the group.

England's World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Wembley will be held on a Friday night, it has been announced.

The match will take place on Friday Nov. 11, 2016, with a 7.45 p.m.(GMT) kick-off. The return match will take place at Hampden Park on Saturday June 10, 2017, with a kick-off time of 5 p.m (BST).

England will begin their World Cup qualifying campaign away against Slovakia, with a home match against Malta and another trip to Slovenia before they meet Scotland. Scotland's first qualifier...

 By PA Sport

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan welcomes England draw for World Cup

Scotland will face England in a competitive match for the first time since the Euro 2000 qualifying playoff.

Gordon Strachan spoke of a moment of intervention as Scotland were drawn against England in their 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying group.

The Scotland boss was at Hampden Park with coach Stuart McCall, and after a Q and A with some members of the Tartan Army, the draw in St Petersburg was broadcast.

Malta, Slovenia, Lithuania and Slovakia were drawn with the Scots before all the Scottish fans cheered when the Auld Enemy's name came up on the screen to complete Group F.

Speaking shortly afterwards,...

England paired with Scotland in World Cup qualifying group stage

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol break down Scotland's World Cup qualifying group, where they'll meet an old frenemy in England.
ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alejandro Moreno break down the CONCACAF and UEFA World Cup qualifying draws.

England and Scotland will have two mouthwatering clashes in the qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup after the home nations were drawn in the same group for first time in all the years of their fierce rivalry.

The two countries will battle it out for supremacy in Group F along with Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta. The winners will qualify automatically for the finals in Russia, with the runners-up having to take part in a play-off.

SPI simulations for 2018 World Cup qualifying

Avg. Finish
Win. Pct
Runner-up. Pct
WC Pct
England
1.43
69.9%
20.2%
82.2%
Slovakia
2.60
14.7%
34.8%
30.3%
Slovenia
3.01
7.9%
23.1%
15.8%
Scotland
3.07
7.6%
21.9%
15.4%
Lithuania
5.10
0.0%
0.1%
0.0%
Malta
5.79
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%

It is the first time England and Scotland have...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup qualifying draw: Spain land Italy in group stages

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alejandro Moreno break down the CONCACAF and UEFA World Cup qualifying draws.
ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol break down Scotland's World Cup qualifying group, where they'll meet an old frenemy in England.
Sepp Blatter has arrived in Russia ahead of the preliminary 2018 World Cup draw.
The U.N.'s Special Adviser for Sport believes Blatter should receive recognition for the positive aspects of his tenure.

The draw for the preliminary stages of the 2018 World Cup has been taken with France taking on Netherlands, Spain and Italy drawn in the same group and England finding themselves placed with Scotland.

Germany will start defending their World Cup title in a six-team UEFA pool where the Czech Republic seems the biggest barrier to advancing as group winners.

"I'm happy that we won't play against France or Italy," said former German international and current team official Oliver Bierhoff.

Italy, the...