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China boss Gao names 25-man squad


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.


13 places

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018...

Australia expecting 'very difficult' Iraq match in Perth - Brad Smith

Brad Smith
Brad Smith is in line to win his 10th cap for Australia against Iraq.

New Bournemouth signing Brad Smith says no one in the Australian camp is playing down the threat of Iraq in Thursday night's World Cup qualifier.

Not when the prize is so great, and the margin for error so fine.

The Socceroos are assembling in Perth before Thursday night's clash, which begins the final group stage on the long road to Russia.

Alex Gersbach will complete the 23-man squad when he arrives on Tuesday night, with fellow left-back Smith predicting a "very difficult" challenge.

"Once he's...

 By Paul Murphy

Thailand's moment of truth against Asia's best in AFC World Cup qualifying

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and David Mitchell look ahead to Thailand's upcoming AFC World Cup qualifying campaign.

The moment of truth has arrived for Thailand as they get set to take on some of the continent's best in the AFC's final stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Kiatisuk 'Zico' Senamuang's Southeast Asian champions kick off their Group B campaign in Saudi Arabia on Thursday before facing Japan in Bangkok five days later.

The Thais pulled off a shock by finishing ahead of Iraq in the previous qualification phase, progressing to the final stage for the first time in 16 years.

But the War Elephants...

Trent Sainsbury over injury nightmare as Australia chases World Cup spot

Australian head coach Ange Postecoglou says the A-League matches up with the likes of overseas leagues.
Trent Sainsbury
Trent Sainsbury, left, has made 16 appearances for Australia since making his debut in 2014.

A sprinkler ruined Trent Sainsbury's World Cup dream two years ago, and the Socceroos defender is hoping for a much smoother run to football's showpiece event this time around.

The 24-year-old has joined his fellow Socceroos in Perth before Thursday night's World Cup qualifier against Iraq at nib Stadium.

He was considered a World Cup bolter for Brazil in 2014, but then he broke his kneecap after landing on a sprinkler while making his debut for PEC Zwolle in the Dutch top flight.

The injury was...

Tim Cahill 'rejuvenated' after two weeks with A-league's Melbourne City

Australian head coach Ange Postecoglou is not worried about a succession plan for replacing Tim Cahill when the time comes.

Socceroos striker Tim Cahill has been "rejuvenated" by his first fortnight with Melbourne City as he prepares to switch his efforts towards the national team.

Australia begins the next phase of World Cup qualifying in Perth on Thursday against Iraq, before travelling to the United Arab Emirates for an away qualifier five days later.

The prolific striker has been all action since arriving in Melbourne two weeks ago.

Cahill began training within hours of landing from New York, and made a debut in...