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Audit: $128m embezzled from CONMEBOL

CONMEBOL
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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...

Sevilla to hold Jorge Sampaoli talks with Argentine Football Association

Shaka Hislop weighs the pros and cons of coaching at the international level amid Jorge Sampaoli's links to the Argentina job.

Sevilla president Jose Castro will hold talks with Argentine Football Association (AFA) vice-president Daniel Angelici this week to discuss coach Jorge Sampaoli's future.

Sampaoli is wanted by the AFA to replace sacked Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza but his contract with Sevilla does not end until June 2018.

The 57-year-old can leave the La Liga side this summer, however, provided his €1.5 million release clause is met.

Castro told Sevilla's official website: "The Boca [Juniors] president and...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi needs World Cup win to 'seal his legacy' - Jurgen Klinsmann

Shaka Hislop agrees with Jurgen Klinsmann over recent comments that Lionel Messi needs a World Cup win to cement his legacy.
Lionel Messi has won his appeal against a four-game ban on World Cup qualifying duty with Argentina.
Stevie Nicol and Sebastian Salazar react after FIFA's Appeal Committee lifted Lionel Messi's four-game suspension.

Lionel Messi can only "seal his legacy" by winning the World Cup with Argentina, former United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann says.

Messi has won nearly every club trophy available to Barcelona, but he's never received a major honour with his national team.

Argentina finished as runners-up at the 2014 World Cup as well as at the Copa America in both 2015 and 2016 -- knocking out Klinsmann's U.S. squad in the semifinals last year.

And Klinsmann, who helped West Germany beat Argentina in the 1990 World...

Argentina yet to begin talks with Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli

Shaka Hislop weighs the pros and cons of coaching at the international level amid Jorge Sampaoli's links to the Argentina job.
Sid Lowe explains how the Argentine FA's aim for Jorge Sampaoli to become head coach has negatively impacted Sevilla.

The Argentina Football Association (AFA) has yet to negotiate with Sevilla over the release of their coach Jorge Sampaoli from his contract.

Sampaoli is tied to Sevilla until June 2018 but can leave this summer provided his €1.5 million release clause is met.

AFA president Claudio Tapia told ESPN FC last month that Sampaoli is the only candidate for the vacant Argentina coaching position but that officials would wait until the end of the season before starting negotiations.

Asked about his...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi deserved a two-match ban for Argentina - Diego Maradona

Stevie Nicol and Sebastian Salazar react after FIFA's Appeal Committee lifted Lionel Messi's four-game suspension.
Lionel Messi has won his appeal against a four-game ban on World Cup qualifying duty with Argentina.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi deserved to be banned for two matches for insulting a match official in a World Cup qualifying game against Chile, Diego Maradona has said.

Argentina legend Maradona told Radio La Red he was surprised that the FIFA appeals committee reduced the four-match ban against the Barcelona star after Messi had served the one-game sanction against Bolivia.

"It makes absolutely no sense, but Leo deserved [to be sanctioned] for one more match and I say that with my heart...