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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...

Egypt withdraws from football at All Africa Games

CAIRO -- The Confederation of African Football says Egypt has withdrawn both its men's and women's football teams from the All Africa Games in Republic of Congo next month.

CAF didn't give a reason for the withdrawal.

The African football body said Wednesday that it offered Egypt's places to the countries it beat out to qualify for the African games: Burundi in the men's and Senegal in the women's. However, both those countries declined to take part because of the short notice to prepare.

The All...

CAF won't back Musa Bility's FIFA presidential bid

The former French international captain is favoured by many to take over as FIFA president after Blatter steps down. His former French international teammate, Luis Fernandez, speaks his praises and supports his decision to run for the position.
Michel Platini has announced he will run for the FIFA presidency, immediately beconing the clear favourite for the role.

CAIRO -- The Confederation of African Football will not support the FIFA presidential bid by Musa Bility of Liberia.

CAF says its executive committee heard Bility at his request at a meeting on Thursday and decided against supporting his proposed candidacy.

The executive panel "wished him good luck" with his bid, CAF said in a statement.

The statement made no mention of possible contenders from Africa or elsewhere it might support.

CAF president Issa Hayatou, FIFA's senior vice president, and South...

 By Colin Udoh

Nigeria's World Cup qualifying challenges remain before Russia 2018

Fans of the Super Eagles will now be able to watch Nigeria's ANC qualifiers.
Nigeria have plenty of work to do if they are to make World Cup qualifying easy.

Last week's preliminary draw officially signalled the start of the long road to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the majority of the 209 member associations of FIFA and handed Nigeria a tie against either Djibouti or Swaziland in the second round of African qualifying.

Contrary to popular opinion -- borne of little else but fanciful nostalgia -- World Cup qualifying has never proved easy to negotiate for Nigeria. From the days when the Green Eagles, as they were previously known, were consistently...

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...