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Gotze, Olympic stars in Germany squad

Germany
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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.

The draw for the main sections of qualifying takes place on Saturday, July 25, 2015.

EUROPE:

13 places

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018...

 By PA Sport

Portugal begin World Cup qualifying without injured Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo joins Lionel Messi as one of the only players to win the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award twice.

European champions Portugal will begin their World Cup qualifying campaign without injured Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 31-year-old is Portugal's record goal scorer but his international teammates must cope without him for the away match against Switzerland on Sept. 6.

Ronaldo continues to recover from the knee injury he sustained early in the Euro 2016 final, in a clash with France's Dimitri Payet.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos named a 24-man squad on Friday for the Switzerland trip,...

Mario Gotze and Olympic stars named in Germany squad

Philipp Lahm praised Bastian Schweinsteiger's accomplishments after the midfielder announced his international retirement.

Germany boss Joachim Low has selected Mario Gotze and three members of the Olympic squad for the games against Finland and Norway, while captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is set to make his farewell appearance.

Germany host Finland in a friendly in Monchengladbach on Wednesday and the German FA (DFB) had already confirmed that Schweinsteiger, 32, would be given the chance to win his 121st and final cap in the match after he decided to retire from international duty. 

The Manchester United midfielder...

 By Mark Rodden

Thierry Henry joins Belgium as Roberto Martinez's assistant coach

Don Hutchison and Layla Anna-Lee discuss what impact Thierry Henry could have on Roberto Martinez's talented Belgium side.

Thierry Henry will join the Belgium national team's coaching staff as Roberto Martinez's assistant.

Former France international Henry had been working as coach of Arsenal's under-18 side before leaving last month after Arsene Wenger told him he could not continue in the role unless he quit his work as a TV pundit.

He will now take on a role with Belgium, who are second in the FIFA World Ranking but failed to live up to expectations under Marc Wilmots at Euro 2016, where they were beaten 3-1 by Wales...

Iker Casillas left out of Julen Lopetegui's first Spain squad

As he approaches his 18th consecutive Champions League campaign, we look at 18 facts about Iker Casillas.

Iker Casillas, Spain's most-capped player, was omitted from Julen Lopetegui's first squad as the new coach of La Roja on Friday.

Casillas, 35, has won two European Championships and the World Cup over the course of his 167 senior appearances for his country, but is not included on the list for the upcoming internationals against Belgium and Liechtenstein. 

Fellow veterans Cesc Fabregas, Pedro Rodriguez, and Juanfran Torres were also left out of the squad to play Belgium in a friendly on Sept....