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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...

United States midfielder Kenny Saief out at least two months

Mark Donaldson and Herculez Gomez evaluate what to expect from three notable Americans as the Premier League season begins.
Ian Darke and Julie Foudy recap the United States' strong finish in the Tournament of Nations and hail champions Australia.

Complications from hernia surgery are likely to sideline United States international midfielder Kenny Saief for at least two months, a source from club side KAA Gent confirmed to ESPN FC.

The source corroborated the details of a report from Israeli media outlet One, which indicated that after undergoing the surgery, Saief contracted an infection in his abdomen that required an additional procedure.

The source stated that Saief will now be on antibiotics for two weeks, and will then return to light...

 By Tom Marshall

Mexico federation fined again for fans' goalkeeper chant

Much like rest of the world, Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Salazar are split over Juan Carlos Osorio's future with Mexico.
Herculez Gomez explains why criticism of Juan Carlos Osorio is harsh after Mexico's elimination in the Gold Cup semifinals.
After the success of Copa America Centenario, ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes asks fans their ideas for the event moving forward.

The Mexican football federation (FMF) has been fined and warned by FIFA for the goalkeeper chant carried out by fans in home World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and the United States last month.

FIFA fined Mexico 10,000 Swiss Francs ($10,378) for each of the games in question and issued its ninth and 10th warning to the FMF for the controversial chant, which FIFA deems to be anti-gay.

Mexico has now been fined eight times for the chant, but hasn't faced a stadium ban, unlike Honduras and Chile,...