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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...

 By Colin Udoh

Nigeria's Africa Women Cup of Nations win shows interest is on the up

Nigeria's Africa Women Cup of Nations win
Nigeria won the Africa Women Cup of Nations for an eighth time after a 1-0 win over hosts Cameroon.

Nigeria's women claimed their eighth African Nations Cup title with a 1-0 win over Cameroon over the weekend.

Here are five thoughts from the tournament:

1. Omagbemi, Ellis point the way forward for women

Florence Omagbemi became only the second woman to lead a team to victory in 10 editions of the African Women Nations Cup. The first to do so was her compatriot and former teammate Uche Eucharia in 2010.

Omagbemi and South Africa's Desiree Ellis may have been the only two women coaches out of the...

ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

Argentina, Netherlands, Japan and Ghana in danger of missing World Cup

Alejandro Moreno talks how Brazil and Argentina are looking following the latest round of World Cup qualifiers.

With 12 months to go before we know the 31 teams who will join hosts Russia at the 2018 World Cup, we take a look at some of the major nations and familiar names who appear to have a battle on their hands to make the finals.

Argentina and Chile

Argentina's 3-0 defeat in Brazil last week left them facing a huge crisis in their qualification bid. However, victory at home to Colombia on Tuesday averted this for now, as at least that win left them fifth and that offers a playoff against the winners of...

 By Colin Udoh

Balogun, Troost-Ekong partnership can seal World Cup ticket for Rohr's Nigeria

Defence will be key to Nigeria's success in World Cup qualifying and beyond.

Despite winning 2-1 away to Zambia in October, there were many who felt Nigeria's defence was exposed too many times by Chipolopolo. The general agreement seemed to be that against the more talented and efficient Algerians, the creaky back line would struggle to hold up.

Even Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr admitted that defence was one department that needed fixing, so he set about making it happen in the month leading up to the Algeria tie.

Both full-back positions have been particularly problematic,...