The qualification structure was as follows: First round (group stage): The 54 teams were divided into nine groups of six teams each to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The winners of each group qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the eight best runners-up advanced to the second round (play-offs).

Third round: The 12 teams (an increase from 10 for 2014) which advanced from the second round were divided into two groups of six teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The top two teams of each group qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the two third-placed teams advanced to the fourth round.

The group winners, France, qualified directly for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The group runners-up, Sweden, advanced to the play-offs as one of the best 8 runners-up, where they defeated Italy and thus qualified too.

28/03/2018Europe's FIFA World Cup hopefuls continued their preparations
this month. … Cristiano Ronaldo: Watch all of his European Qualifiers goals.

15 Nov 2017 Which European teams have qualified for World Cup 2018 in Russia? … officially
as UEFA's second round of World Cup qualifying – are used to allocate … joined
UEFA to round out the groups, but the rules were not changed.