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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...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger announces international retirement

Bastian Schwensteiger has retired from international football, but did his club boss, Jose Mourinho have anything to do with it?
ESPN FC's Paul Mariner gives reasons why Bastian Schweinsteiger's Premier League career could be over.

Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his retirement from international football.

Manchester United midfielder Schweinsteiger, who was part of the 2014 World Cup-winning side, said after Euro 2016 that he would decide on his future with the national side.

The 31-year-old former Bayern Munich star confirmed on social media on Friday that he has told coach Joachim Low that he has decided to call time on an international career in which he had 120 caps.

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Bayern Munich to block Paul Clement role with England - reports

The ESPN FC crew discuss former Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce being hired as the new England manager.
Relive Sam Allardyce's best sound bites after being appointed England manager.
England manager Sam Allardyce says he wants his players to enjoy representing their country.

Sam Allardyce's hopes of appointing Paul Clement as England assistant manager have been dealt a blow after Bayern Munich blocked the Football Association's approach, according to reports.

Allardyce was hoping that Clement would join him as part of his backroom staff, and Bayern head coach Carlo Ancelotti was reportedly willing to allow his assistant to join up with England during international breaks.

However, the German champions want Clement to be fully focused on his role at the Allianz Arena,...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FA chief Martin Glenn: Punditry more fun than coaching for ex-England stars

The ESPN FC crew discuss former Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce being hired as the new England manager.
Relive Sam Allardyce's best sound bites after being appointed England manager.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop wonders who will lead England should Sam Allardyce not choose Wayne Rooney as captain.

Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn admits top former players in England often find punditry to be more attractive than coaching.

Glenn said the FA is adopting a "creative" approach to the issue of trying to tempt ex-England internationals into earning their coaching badges but accepts that many will prefer to earn money by working in the media.

"There is a pathway [to coaching] should they choose it," Glenn said in The Guardian. "It's just the alternative can seem more interesting,...

Alex Ferguson backed 'winner' Sam Allardyce for England - Glenn

England manager Sam Allardyce says he wants his players to enjoy representing their country.
Sam Allardyce refused to confirm whether Wayne Rooney would remain as England captain during World Cup qualifying.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop wonders who will lead England should Sam Allardyce not choose Wayne Rooney as captain.

Sir Alex Ferguson was consulted by the Football Association (FA) and recommended Sam Allardyce as the next England manager because the former Sunderland manager is a "winner," Martin Glenn has confirmed.

Glenn, CEO of the FA, said that four candidates were interviewed for the job but did not reveal the identities as the process was confidential. Steve Bruce has already publicly admitted that he was one of the men that the FA spoke to.

Glenn revealed that Glenn Hoddle, Harry Redknapp, Gary Lineker...