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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.

  

EUROPE:

13 places

• European qualifying home page

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

Russia...

Apostolos Giannou in for Australia to replace injured Milos Degenek

Australia striker Apostolos Giannou
Apostolos Giannou was called up by Australia in place of the injured Milos Degenek.

Greek-born striker Apostolos Giannou has been brought into the Socceroos squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers after Milos Degenek was ruled out with a knee injury.

Giannou will come in for next month's key clashes with Saudi Arabia and Japan after Degenek suffered an injury while playing for 1860 Munich in the second-tier German league on Friday.

"It is disappointing for Milos that he has picked up the knee injury as he made an impact on our team since coming into the squad in June," Socceroos...

Gao Hongbo: Chinese Super League a problem for China players

China coach Gao Hong Bo
Gao Hongbo is concerned about the fitness of China players.

Gao Hongbo believes the Chinese Super League season is having a detrimental effect on his team's hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals as the China coach named a 24-man squad that did not include former Asian Player of the Year Zheng Zhi.

Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Zheng is one of four changes from the squad that lost to South Korea and drew with Iran in China's opening two matches in the final phase of Asia's qualifying rounds for Russia 2018 as Gao prepares his team to take on...

Tottenham's Son Heung-Min recalled by South Korea ahead of qualifiers

Son Heung-Min continued his scintillating form as his brace led Spurs to a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough.
Son Heung-Min continued his scintillating form as his brace led Spurs to a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough.
Son Heung-Min was pleased with his brace, but feels Spurs should do better with converting their chances.
ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Craig Burley break down the latest from week 6 throughout the Premier League.

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea coach Uli Stielike has recalled Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-Min ahead of next month's 2018 World Cup qualification games against Qatar and Iran.

Stielike allowed Son to miss the 1-1 draw with Syria earlier this month to focus on his career with Tottenham in the Premier League.

The attacker has gone on to score four goals in the subsequent three league games, including a double in the 2-1 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday that lifted Spurs into second spot.

"If...

 By John Duerden

Moya Dodd chats exclusively to ESPN FC ahead of new FIFA Council elections

The battle to eradicate sexism in football is a 'work in progress' according to former Australia international Moya Dodd.

Moya Dodd is aiming to be elected to the new FIFA Council on Tuesday in order to help take the world governing body, as well as women's football and Asian football, into a new era.

In a vote to be held at the Asian Football Confederation's Extraordinary Congress in Goa, India, on Sept. 27, the Australian will run against fellow AFC Executive Committee members Mahfuza Ahkter from Bangladesh and North Korea's Han Un Gyong.

The victorious candidate will become the AFC's female representative on the...