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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...

Dick Advocaat named as assistant to Netherlands coach Danny Blind

Dick Advocaat resigned as Sunderland boss in October.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Veteran coach Dick Advocaat has been appointed as assistant to Danny Blind ahead of Netherlands' tough qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Dutch football association announced 68-year-old Advocaat's appointment late on Saturday, saying he will join the squad for a training camp in Portugal next Sunday as it prepares for friendlies against Republic of Ireland, Poland and Austria.

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Kosovo and Gibraltar join FIFA ahead of 2018 World Cup qualifying

FIFA also added two member associations to its ranks on Friday: Kosovo and Gibraltar.

They become the 210th and 211th members of the football family and can start their preparations for the 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament.

The huge majorities they received for their inclusion -- 86 percent and 93 percent respectively -- represent huge victories for the pair, particularly given the strong opposition they have faced from more powerful neighbours.

Spain has strongly opposed Gibraltar's progress...

 By PA Sport

CAS orders FIFA to admit Gibraltar as member

The CAS said its panel of judges could not directly grant FIFA membership to Gibraltar.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has told FIFA to transmit Gibraltar's application to become a full member to the FIFA Congress "without delay," opening the national team's path to play in the 2018 World Cup qualifying program.

The British Overseas Territory became a UEFA member in May 2013 but the Gibraltar Football Association was informed in September 2014 that it did not meet the requirements for admission to FIFA.

An appeal against the world governing body's decision has now been partially...

Albania to build a new 22,300-seat national stadium

Albania could have a new national stadium within three years.

Albania are expected to start work on a new 22,300-seat national stadium in Tirana next month, a boost for the country's national team as they prepare to play in their first major championship.

Albanian federation spokesman Tritan Kokona said on Thursday that the €50 million project is expected to be completed in three years.

Without a state-of-the-art stadium in Tirana, UEFA threatened to pull qualifying matches out of the country. Despite the difficulties, the team surprisingly qualified...