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Trending: Neymar committed to Barca

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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

Trending: Lionel Messi gets four-game ban, Neymar's Barcelona commitment

Craig Burley and Mark Donaldson try to make sense of emerging rumours linking Neymar to Manchester United.

ARGENTINA: FIFA has banned Lionel Messi for four matches after ruling that the Argentina forward verbally abused a match official in a World Cup qualifying game against Chile.

BARCELONA: Neymar has reaffirmed his commitment to Barcelona amid speculation in Spain that Manchester United are keen to acquire his services.

MAN UNITEDJose Mourinho is "unlucky" not to see his side competing for the Premier League title this season, according to former Old Trafford boss...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FIFA hands Lionel Messi four-match ban for insults in WCQ vs. Chile

Alejandro Moreno discusses the impact of Lionel Messi's 4-match ban on Argentina's World Cup qualifying campaign.
The FC panel think Argentina have lacked an identity in World Cup qualifying and have yet to fully maximise their potential.
Alejandro Moreno says Argentina's win over Chile in qualifying covered up glaring problems for Edgardo Bauza's side.
Chile manager Juan Antonio Pizzi is proud of his team despite the defeat to Argentina.
Argentina pushed Chile out of the top five in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying thanks to a Lionel Messi penalty kick.

FIFA dealt a four-match ban to Lionel Messi on Tuesday after ruling that the Argentina forward verbally abused a match official in a World Cup qualifying game against Chile last week.

Messi was dealt the suspension and a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,160) by FIFA's disciplinary panel. He will miss four of Argentina's remaining five World Cup qualifiers, including the match against Bolivia on Tuesday night. He can return for Argentina's final qualifier, away to Ecuador on Oct. 10.

The Argentina...