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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...

Petr Cech to decide on international retirement in coming weeks

The Czech Republic's Petr Cech reacts to his side's late loss to Spain, and notes that his side showed great defensive fortitude.

 Petr Cech will decide in the coming weeks whether to retire from internationals after Czech Republic were eliminated early from Euro 2016.

The Arsenal goalkeeper was playing in his fifth major tournament but couldn't prevent the Czechs from finishing last in Group D with one point.

Cech, who had previously said he may retire from the national team after the tournament, says he still hasn't made up his mind but expects to make a decision within two weeks.

"Nothing has changed compared to what...

UEFA keeps Kosovo and Bosnia apart for World Cup qualifying

Kosovo will begin their first World Cup qualifying campaign in September.

UEFA has placed Kosovo in World Cup qualifying Group I after ruling that its newest member could not play against Bosnia-Herzegovina for security reasons.

UEFA says Kosovo must go in the originally drawn five-team group that includes Croatia, Ukraine, Iceland, Turkey and Finland.

Kosovo and Gibraltar were both accepted as FIFA members last month and had to be found places in the World Cup qualifying program that kicks off in September.

Gibraltar will join Group H, the only other with five teams...

Albania begin demolition of 70-year-old Qemal Stafa Stadium

Albania's Qemal Stafa Stadium is being demolished.

TIRANA, Albania -- The destruction of 70-year old Qemal Stafa Stadium in Albania has begun to make way for a new 22,300-seat National Arena.

Bulldozers were busy on the site on Thursday, while the seats were being removed to be placed in other stadiums in the country.

The €50 million project, to be finished in three years, has been controversial because the new, slightly bigger arena was combined with shopping, entertainment, bars and a hotel in the capital Tirana.

It's the latest stadium...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FIFA fines Mexico for 'homophobic chants' from fans

FIFA has sanctioned Mexico for offensive chants from fans in the stands during matches.

The Mexican Football Federation has lost its appeal before FIFA of the fine and warning it received for what the organisation deemed "homophobic chants from supporters."

FIFA also fined Croatia and ordered them to play two World Cup qualifying matches in empty stadiums for repeated cases of fans chanting fascist slogans.

In January, Mexico appealed the sanction for fans' actions during El Tri's 3-0 victory over El Salvador in World Cup qualifying in Estadio Azteca on Nov. 13 last year. Argentina,...