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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.

  

EUROPE:

13 places

• European qualifying home page

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

Russia...

FC Groningen flyer Ajdin Hrustic, 20, earns surprise Australia call-up

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts break down all the action from Australia's 2-0 victory over United Arab Emirates.

Dutch-based youngster Ajdin Hrustic has bolted into the Socceroos ahead of their big June schedule featuring the all-important World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia.

Hrustic is one of six uncapped players, including recalled Riley McGree, to be named in coach Ange Postecoglou's extended 30-man squad on Monday, after Australia successfully lured the Melbourne-born 20-year-old attacker amid reported overtures from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Uncapped former Adelaide United defender Dylan McGowan, who's...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ex-Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza hired as United Arab Emirates boss

Weeks after being removed as Argentina coach, Edgardo Bauza has been appointed coach of the United Arab Emirates.
Despite being sacked as Argentina head coach, Edgardo Bauza thinks and hopes they still qualify for the World Cup.

Former Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza was confirmed as the new manager of the United Arab Emirates national team on Thursday.

"Coaching a new team in the U.A.E. will be a new challenge," the 59-year-old said. "I am eager to be successful in the mission."

The Argentine Football Association controversially sacked Bauza in April after just eight competitive games (three wins, two draws, three losses) in charge. That less-than-stellar form has left the Albiceleste sitting fifth in World Cup qualifying...