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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...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Tim Howard: Bruce Arena will make wearing U.S. shirt matter again

USMNT stalwart goalkeeper Tim Howard joins the FC desk to discuss the team's mentality, and the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann.

United States goalkeeper Tim Howard believes Bruce Arena's return to coaching the national team will give the Americans a boost in World Cup qualification and make players better understand the importance of wearing the country's colors.

The U.S. began the Hexagonal phase of CONCACAF qualifying under Jurgen Klinsmann last year with a pair of losses to Mexico and Costa Rica, respectively.

And Howard, 37, said the team have put themselves in a "situation" that they'll need to navigate under Arena...