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Congo name Migne as new coach

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

Wilfried Zaha's representative rejects England 'egg timer' comment

Wilfried Zaha hit home the Ivory Coast's second late with this moment of brilliance.
The FC crew discuss why England tend to look sharp in qualifying but struggle when it comes time to play in the World Cup.
Wilfried Zaha opened his account for the Ivory Coast with a 2-0 win over Russia.
Gareth Southgate encourages his side to keep pushing for improvement despite sitting atop Group F in World Cup Qualifying.

Wilfried Zaha's representative has dismissed England boss Gareth Southgate's claim there was "a disappearing egg timer on him going to the Ivory Coast." 

Crystal Palace winger Zaha, 24, made two friendly appearances for England in 2012 and 2013 before switching allegiance to Ivory Coast, the country of his birth, in time for January's African Nations Cup.

Southgate was made caretaker England manager in September but said Zaha had "already made his mind up to go across to the Ivory Coast" by...

Ivory Coast name former Belgium coach Marc Wilmots as new manager

Marc Wilmots
Marc Wilmots is the new manager of Ivory Coast.

Former Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has been hired as the new coach of the Ivory Coast national team.

Ivory Coast are coming off a disappointing showing at the African Nations Cup, where they were eliminated in the group phase.

Wilmots led Belgium for four years, reaching the quarterfinals at both the 2014 World Cup and last year's European Championship.

After losing to Wales in the Euro 2016 quarterfinals, Wilmots was derided for failing to get Belgium's best crop of players any further in the...

FIFA bans referee after influencing result of World Cup qualifier

Gab Marcotti explains why FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams has its benefits, but not everyone agrees.
Joseph Lamptey has been banned for life by FIFA after being found guilty of influencing the result of a World Cup qualifying match.
Joseph Lamptey's decision in a World Cup qualifier have seen him banned.

Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey has been banned for life by FIFA after being found guilty of influencing the result of a World Cup qualifying match.

Lamptey incorrectly awarded a penalty during a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup between South Africa and Senegal in November last year.

South Africa won 2-1, the first of their goals from a spot-kick awarded by Lamptey for a handball that never was.

The ball hit Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly on the leg, but, despite no appeals, Lamptey pointed...

CAF taking disciplinary case against Zimbabwe FA's Phillip Chiyangwa

Phillip Chiyangwa Zimbabwe Football Association
Phillip Chiyangwa (right) has been a critic of Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will go ahead with a disciplinary case against Zimbabwe Football Association president Phillip Chiyangwa, who reportedly described executives as "cowards" and "cronies" for not standing up to CAF president Issa Hayatou.

A newcomer to African football politics, Chiyangwa has described himself as the campaign manager for Malagasy Football Federation president Ahmad Ahmad, who is running against Hayatou in Thursday's CAF presidential election.

CAF said it...