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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.

Qualified nations: Brazil, Iran

EUROPE:

13 places

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018 sees seven groups of six nations and two groups of...

Six Guangzhou Evergrande stars in China squad to face Uzbekistan, Qatar

Marcelo Lippi has selected a core of players from Guangzhou Evergrande for his China squad.

New Werder Bremen signing Zhang Yuning is once again the only non-domestic based player to be named in Marcello Lippi's China national team squad for the country's upcoming World Cup qualifiers as the Italian coach continues to lean on Chinese Super League leaders Guangzhou Evergrande.

Lippi selected six of his former club's players, including veteran captain Zheng Zhi, as the Chinese prepare for their final two qualifying matches, against Uzbekistan on Aug. 31 and Qatar five days later.

China are...

 By John Duerden

South Korea to feel pressure vs. 'European' Iran - Park Ji-Sung

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson discuss Son Heung-Min and Ki Sung-Yeung's call-ups for South Korea and their race to be fit.
Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts break down Thailand's resilient 1-1 draw with the UAE in World Cup Qualifying.

Manchester United legend Park Ji-Sung has called upon South Korea fans to get behind their team against a "European" Iran in a vital 2018 AFC World Cup qualifier in Seoul on Aug. 31.

Coach Shin Tae-Yong called up English Premier League stars Son Heung-Min and Ki Sung-Yeung in his first squad on Monday. Games in the K-League have been cancelled on the weekend of Aug. 27 and 28 to give Shin more time with his players.

While Iran have already booked their spot in next year's tournament as they sit...