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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...

Wayne Rooney has 'got some decisions to make this summer' - Southgate

Steve Nicol assesses the long-term implications of Wayne Rooney being left off England's squad for their upcoming matches.

Gareth Southgate has hinted Wayne Rooney may have to leave Manchester United to win back his England place.

Rooney, 31, has been omitted from the England squad to play Scotland and France, after also missing games against Germany and Lithuania in March.

Southgate told a news conference that there is a way back for the 31-year-old, but suggested the United captain will have to leave Old Trafford to secure more regular first-team football.

"From Wayne's point of view he hasn't played very much this...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

School holiday allows Ethan Ampadu, 16, to join Wales training

Chris Coleman challenges his Wales side to prove they can perform without star man Gareth Bale in the squad.

Exeter City youngster Ethan Ampadu was only allowed to join up with the Wales national team for a training camp this month because it coincided with a school break.

Wales under-19 international Ampadu, 16, trained with the senior team ahead of Euro 2016 and has again been invited to join up with Chris Coleman's squad in Portugal ahead of their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Serbia on June 11.

"He's not missing any school but his priority at the moment is his exams," Exeter boss Paul Tisdale said....

Brazilian-born Emerson called up to Italy squad to face Uruguay, Liechtenstein

Emerson has helped Roma to the verge of a second-place finish in Serie A this season.

Brazilian-born left back Emerson Palmieri has been called up to Italy's squad for the first time for a friendly against Uruguay and a World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein.

Emerson, 22, who plays for Roma, obtained Italian citizenship in March due to relatives on his mother's side.

AC Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo was called back to the squad for the first time since injuring his left knee against Spain in October, which ruled him out for six months.