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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...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FA chief Martin Glenn: Punditry more fun than coaching for ex-England stars

The ESPN FC crew discuss former Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce being hired as the new England manager.
Relive Sam Allardyce's best sound bites after being appointed England manager.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop wonders who will lead England should Sam Allardyce not choose Wayne Rooney as captain.

Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn admits top former players in England often find punditry to be more attractive than coaching.

Glenn said the FA is adopting a "creative" approach to the issue of trying to tempt ex-England internationals into earning their coaching badges but accepts that many will prefer to earn money by working in the media.

"There is a pathway [to coaching] should they choose it," Glenn said in The Guardian. "It's just the alternative can seem more interesting,...

Alex Ferguson backed 'winner' Sam Allardyce for England - Glenn

England manager Sam Allardyce says he wants his players to enjoy representing their country.
Sam Allardyce refused to confirm whether Wayne Rooney would remain as England captain during World Cup qualifying.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop wonders who will lead England should Sam Allardyce not choose Wayne Rooney as captain.

Sir Alex Ferguson was consulted by the Football Association (FA) and recommended Sam Allardyce as the next England manager because the former Sunderland manager is a "winner," Martin Glenn has confirmed.

Glenn, CEO of the FA, said that four candidates were interviewed for the job but did not reveal the identities as the process was confidential. Steve Bruce has already publicly admitted that he was one of the men that the FA spoke to.

Glenn revealed that Glenn Hoddle, Harry Redknapp, Gary Lineker...

Sweden may try to convince Zlatan Ibrahimovic to play on - Eriksson

Jose Mourinho discussed Man United's preseason preparations and why Zlatan has not joined up with the squad yet.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Zlatan Ibrahimovic's comments saying he will be the 'God of Manchester.'

Sven-Goran Eriksson says Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the best player in Sweden's history and could be tempted to return to international duty.

Ibrahimovic, 34, retired from international football last month when Sweden were knocked out of Euro 2016 at the group stage before completing a move to Manchester United.

Eriksson, though, said he hopes new manager Janne Andersson can persuade Ibrahimovic to reverse his decision.

 By Nick Miller

Sam Allardyce supremely confident as England turn to his pragmatic skills

The ESPN FC crew discuss former Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce being hired as the new England manager.

There's a theory that suggests anyone who wants to be a world leader should be immediately disqualified from doing so, on the basis that the sheer hubris involved in thinking you can cope with such a gargantuan task, makes you immediately unsuitable.

Given the way it has chewed up and made punchlines of men like Fabio Capello, you could think the same about the England job.

"It drives them all mad in the end," wrote the journalist Patrick Collins at one point. But if nothing else, Sam Allardyce...