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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...

Paulinho's Brazil hat trick highlights Chinese Super League quality - Scolari

Paulinho admitted his surprise after scoring a hat-trick against Uruguay in their World Cup Qualifier in Montevideo.

Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari believes the hat trick scored by Paulinho in Brazil's 4-1 World Cup qualifying win over Uruguay on Thursday is further proof that a move to the Chinese Super League should not be the end of a player's international career.

Paulinho, who joined Evergrande a little over two years ago from Tottenham Hotspur, was one of three China-based players in Tite's squad as Brazil tightened their grip on top spot in South America's qualifying campaign for next year's...