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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2018 World Cup - who has qualified for the finals and who can get there

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, and so far two nations have booked their place to join hosts Russia.

Qualified nations: Brazil, Iran

That leaves 29 places still to be decided before the final playoff ties are played in November.

EUROPE:

13...

U.S. defense ravaged by a familiar crop of injuries ahead of crucial WCQs

The FC crew assess the impact of John Brooks' injury on the U.S. ahead of crucial matches in World Cup qualifying.

Following a gritty 1-1 tie in Panama in March, United States manager Bruce Arena looked out at the assembled press and heaped praise on a side that "somehow managed to get through an unusual amount of injuries."

Perhaps it wasn't as unusual as Arena thought.

During that March fixture period, the U.S. was missing the likes of forward Bobby Wood, midfielder Fabian Johnson and outside-backs Eric Lichaj and DeAndre Yedlin. Both Timmy Chandler and Jermaine Jones were suspended too, yet the Americans...

United States midfielder Kenny Saief out at least two months

Mark Donaldson and Herculez Gomez evaluate what to expect from three notable Americans as the Premier League season begins.
Ian Darke and Julie Foudy recap the United States' strong finish in the Tournament of Nations and hail champions Australia.

Complications from hernia surgery are likely to sideline United States international midfielder Kenny Saief for at least two months, a source from club side KAA Gent confirmed to ESPN FC.

The source corroborated the details of a report from Israeli media outlet One, which indicated that after undergoing the surgery, Saief contracted an infection in his abdomen that required an additional procedure.

The source stated that Saief will now be on antibiotics for two weeks, and will then return to light...