Competition Facts

The Week of Football concept enables fans around the world to enjoy the very best action from the European Qualifiers – which will determine UEFA's representatives at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup comprises nine groups of six teams, with matches played on a home-and-away basis.

Qualifying takes place under the 'Week of Football' concept, introduced ahead of the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign, in which games are spread out from Thursday to Tuesday, shining the spotlight on more teams on the road to the finals in Russia. Moreover, thanks to the Week of Football, at least 43% of matches will be played on weekends, giving fans a better chance to follow the action on television, in the stadiums and on UEFA.com.

Kick-off times will be set mainly at 18:00CET and 20:45CET on Saturdays and Sundays and at 20:45CET for Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays. In double-header matchweeks, sides will play on Thursday/Sunday, Friday/Monday or Saturday/Tuesday. Each day of the Week of Football will feature eight to ten games.

The nine group winners will qualify directly for the final tournament. The eight best runners-up will contest play-offs to decide the last four qualifiers for the finals.

The 13 qualifiers then join hosts Russia in the finals to make it 14 UEFA member associations represented.

How qualification works

The other confederations have the following qualifying berths:

Africa: 5
Asia: 4.5
North and Central America and Caribbean: 3.5
Oceania: 0.5
South America: 4.5

Top