2018 FIFA World Cup qualification

2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
Tournament details
Dates12 March 2015 – 15 November 2017
Teams210 (from 6 confederations)
Tournament statistics
Matches played872
Goals scored2,454 (2.81 per match)
Attendance18,720,691 (21,469 per match)
Top scorer(s)Poland Robert Lewandowski
Saudi Arabia Mohammad Al-Sahlawi[n 1]
United Arab Emirates Ahmed Khalil
(16 goals each)
2014
2022

The 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification process was a series of tournaments organised by the six FIFA confederations to decide 31 of the 32 teams which would play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with Russia qualifying automatically as hosts. All 210 remaining FIFA member associations were eligible to enter the qualifying process, and for the first time in World Cup history, all eligible national teams registered for the preliminary competition,[1] but Zimbabwe and Indonesia were disqualified before playing their first matches.[2][3] Bhutan, South Sudan, Gibraltar and Kosovo made their FIFA World Cup qualification debuts.[4][5][6][7][8]

While the main qualifying draw took place at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg, on 25 July 2015,[9][10] qualification matches were played before that.[11] The first, between Timor-Leste and Mongolia, began in Dili on 12 March 2015 as part of the AFC's qualification,[12] with East Timorese player Chiquito do Carmo scoring the first goal in qualification.[n 2] Matches were also played in CONCACAF prior to the main draw.
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  1. ^ "Road to Russia with new milestone". FIFA.com. 15 January 2015. Archived from the original on 15 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Zimbabwe expelled from the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia". FIFA.com. 12 March 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Indonesia disqualified from 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers". FIFA.com. 3 June 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Modest Bhutan begin World Cup adventure". FIFA.com. 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 13 March 2015.
  5. ^ "South Sudan's World Cup debut ended early by rain". bbc.co.uk. 7 October 2015.
  6. ^ "FIFA Congress drives football forward, first female secretary general appointed". FIFA.com. 13 May 2016. Archived from the original on 16 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Kosovo to play in Group I in European Qualifiers". uefa.org. Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). 9 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Kosovo and Gibraltar assigned to 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying groups". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). 9 June 2016. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup extends its responsibilities to cover 2018 and 2022". FIFA.com. 19 March 2013. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Konstantinovsky Palace to stage Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup". FIFA.com. 10 October 2014. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Ethics: Executive Committee unanimously supports recommendation to publish report on 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process". FIFA.com. 19 December 2014. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Long road to Russia begins in Dili". FIFA.com. 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015.

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