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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2018 World Cup - who has qualified for the finals and who can get there

Eight down, 24 to go on the Road to Russia 2018.

The qualifying process for the 2018 World Cup, which began on March 12, 2015, is reaching its climax. 

So far, eight nations have booked their place to join host nation Russia in next year's tournament.

Qualified nations: Russia (hosts), Belgium, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea.

EUROPE (UEFA; 13 PLACES)

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018 sees seven groups of six nations and two groups of five. 

Russia qualify as hosts. Group...

Gareth Southgate may hand England youngsters Lithuania chance - sources

The guys respond to your tweets about England's World Cup chances, Christen Eriksen and Romelu Lukaku.

Gareth Southgate will hand opportunities to England's emerging youngsters in next month's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania if a place at Russia 2018 is secured with a positive result against Slovenia at Wembley on Oct. 5, sources have told ESPN FC.

England head coach Southgate is set to name his squad on Thursday for the forthcoming double-header, which will see the team qualify for the World Cup if they secure two points from the two fixtures.

A win against Slovenia will confirm England as...

Diego Costa must resolve Chelsea problem before Spain call - Lopetegui

Alejandro Moreno says Diego Costa and Antonio Conte aren't built to repair the bridges that have been burned between them.

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has reiterated that Chelsea striker Diego Costa must resolve his club future as soon as possible if he is to return to the national team fold.

One hundred days have passed since Costa last played an official game, a 2-1 victory over Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier for Spain on June 11.

Eager to rejoin Atletico Madrid, Costa has refused to return to Chelsea and was on a self-imposed exile in Brazil since claiming in June that Blues coach Antonio Conte texted him to...

Austria won't renew contract of coach Marcel Koller after 2017

Marcel Koller will no longer manage Austria after the current qualifying campaign.

Austria coach Marcel Koller is leaving the national team at the end of the year.

The Austrian football federation announced on Friday that it decided not to renew his contract, ending the Swiss coach's six-year stint in charge.

"Koller has to be thanked for his great work but the sober reality is that we won four of our last 18 games. In the end only the results count," Federation president Leo Windtner said.

Koller will still be in charge of the team for its final two World Cup qualifiers,...

 By Ben Gladwell

Ventura aims to leave bright Italy legacy despite World Cup worries

FC's Mark Ogden reports from Spain, after Italy's 3-0 loss in WCQ and their likely entry into the playoffs for qualification.
Janusz Michallik reflects on Spain's thorough 3-0 victory over Italy in their pivotal Group G World Cup qualifying clash.
Spain inched closer towards qualifying for the World Cup, as Isco's first career international brace led La Roja past Italy.

Italy coach Giampiero Ventura has said he knows he will be judged on immediate results but also has an obligation to ensure a bright future for the national side.

Italy's hopes of qualifying for next summer's World Cup in Russia were hit by a 3-0 defeat in Spain, meaning they may need to win a playoff in order to get to the tournament.

"I know I'm reliant on results on the field, but I'd like to talk about other things because that is how you get results in sport," Ventura said at a seminar...