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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...

New Zealand and New Caledonia play out goalless draw

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New Zealand are in pole position to reach the Oceania World Cup qualifying playoff after drawing 0-0 against New Caledonia on Tuesday.

The All Whites had already beaten their opponents 2-0 in the reverse fixture in Auckland on Saturday, and ensured they preserved that advantage by taking a point in Kone.

New Caledonia had applied most of the pressure, but their hopes were dented when captain Bertrand Kai was dismissed 15 minutes from time for a headbutt on Ryan Thomas after reacting to a tackle...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Solomon Islands claim late win over Tahiti in World Cup qualifying

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Solomon Islands beat Tahiti in their World Cup qualifier thanks to a last-gasp goal from James Naka.

Naka scored in the 92nd minute to secure the win and draw level with Tahiti at the top of in Group B.

Tahiti had beaten Solomon Islands 1-0 at home last week.

Marco Rojas nets brace as New Zealand beat New Caledonia

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Marco Rojas scored twice as New Zealand beat New Caledonia 2-0 Saturday in an Oceania World Cup qualifying match.

Rojas put New Zealand ahead 1-0 with a 42nd-minute strike that was only partially stopped by New Caledonia goalkeeper Thomas Schmidt. He made the game safe in the 72nd minute when Chris Wood back-heeled Monty Patterson's cross to Rojas, who finished well.

New Zealand have been drawn with New Caledonia and Fiji in Group A in the third stage of qualifying in the Oceania region. Tahiti,...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Tauhiti Keck secures win for Tahiti against Solomon Islands

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Tahiti opened the final stage of Oceania World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 win over Solomon Islands.

Tauhiti Keck scored the decisive goal, beating the goalkeeper with a free kick in the 53rd minute.

Tahiti and Solomon Islands meet again on Nov. 13.

The two nations also face Papua New Guinea in Group B, while Group A sees Fiji, New Caledonia and New Zealand go head-to-head.