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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...

CONMEBOL chief Alejandro Dominguez to chair FIFA finance panel

Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Gab Marcotti explains why FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams has its benefits, but not everyone agrees.
Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.

FIFA has appointed the president of the corruption-ravaged South American governing body to chair its finance committee.

FIFA says Alejandro Dominguez of Paraguay leads the new eight-member panel, which includes two independent officials from outside football.

The CONMEBOL president replaces another FIFA vice president, African leader Issa Hayatou.

Dominguez won the CONMEBOL election last year after his predecessor, Juan Angel Napout, was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in a football...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

CONCACAF prefers 2026 World Cup bid with U.S., Mexico, Canada - Moggio

Gab Marcotti explains why FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams has its benefits, but not everyone agrees.
Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.
Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Shaka Hislop expresses his disapproval at FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

CONCACAF general secretary Philippe Moggio has said that he favours a three-way 2026 World Cup bid with Mexico, the United States and Canada, echoing comments made last week by new CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani.

FIFA's decision last week to expand the 2026 tournament -- to 48 teams from 32, playing 80 games instead of 64 -- increased the chances of co-hosting to share the load. 

The U.S. has said they will aggressively bid for hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup and CONCACAF...

 By Tim Vickery

48-team World Cup could negatively affect South American qualifying

Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.
Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Shaka Hislop expresses his disapproval at FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

On the website of CONMEBOL, the South American Confederation, there is an article entitled: "From 13 teams in Uruguay 1930 to 48 in the 2026 World Cup."

It is a neat way of reminding everyone of one of the great trump cards of the South American game: its fabulous tradition. This is the continent where the World Cup began and which has won nine versions of the tournament, divided between Brazil (five wins) and Uruguay and Argentina (two apiece).

The big three has provided Barcelona with the "MSN"...