2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
The 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification decides 31 of the 32 teams which will play in the World Cup. All 209 FIFA member associations are eligible to enter the qualifying process.
at start of event
|Russia||Host||2 December 2010||11th||2014||Fourth place (1966)|
Summary of qualification
|Note: The number of teams participating in the main tournament is 32. The division over the continents, however, as of August 2014 not been announced. The list below is based on the procedure of the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.|
|Confederation||Teams started||Teams that have secured qualification||Teams that can still qualify||Teams that have been eliminated||Remaining places in finals||Total places in finals||Qualifying start date||Qualifying end date|
|AFC||Max 46||0||46||0||4 or 5||4 or 5|
|CONCACAF||Max 35||0||35||0||3 or 4||3 or 4|
|CONMEBOL||Max 10||0||10||0||4 or 5||4 or 5|
|OFC||Max 11||0||11||0||0 or 1||0 or 1|
On 16 April 2014, the AFC Executive Committee approved the proposal to merge the preliminary qualification rounds of the FIFA World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup, which will be expanded to 24 teams starting in 2019. In the preliminary qualification round, the teams will be divided into eight groups, where the eight group winners and the four best group runners-up will advance to the final qualification round of the FIFA World Cup as well as qualify for the AFC Asian Cup finals. The 12 teams in the final qualification round (an increase from 10 for 2014) will compete for direct qualification to the FIFA World Cup finals as well as possible play-off places. For the teams eliminated from the FIFA World Cup in the preliminary qualification round, the next best 24 teams will compete in a separate tournament, where they are divided into six groups of four, for the remaining places in the AFC Asian Cup finals.
On 29 March 2014, the OFC Executive Committee discussed the possible qualification pathway towards the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament will double as the 2016 OFC Nations Cup, and be organized as follows:
- For the first stage, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa, and Tonga will play a round-robin tournament at a single venue on 8–16 June 2015. The winner will advance to the second stage.
- For the second stage, the first stage winner will join the seven remaining teams, and the eight teams will be drawn into two groups of four. Each group is played on a round-robin home-and-away basis, on 5–13 October 2015, 21–29 March 2016, and 30 May – 7 June 2016. The group winners and runners-up will advance to the final stage.
- For the final stage, there are two proposals. It may be played as a knockout tournament on a two-legged home-and-away basis, on 29 August – 6 September 2016 (semi-finals) and 7–18 November 2016 (finals), with the group winners playing the group runners-up in the semi-finals, and the semi-final winners playing each other in the finals. Alternatively, it may be played as a group on a round-robin home-and-away basis, on 29 August – 6 September, 3–11 October, and 7–18 November 2016. Either way, the final stage winner will qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, and advance to the inter-confederation play-offs in November 2017 where they will play a team from another confederation for a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
- "Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup extends its responsibilities to cover 2018 and 2022". FIFA.com. 19 March 2013.
- "Calendar". FIFA.com.
- This is the 4th appearance of Russia at the FIFA World Cup. However FIFA considers Russia as the successor team of the Soviet Union.
- Russia's best result is group stage in 1994, 2002 and 2014. However FIFA considers Russia as the successor team of the Soviet Union.
- "ExCo approves expanded AFC Asian Cup finals". AFC. 16 April 2014.
- "OFC Executive Committee decisions". Oceania Football Confederation. April 23, 2014.