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USMNT 2018 World Cup qualifying schedule

Changes to the FIFA calendar have forced changes to World Cup qualifying.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

CONCACAF has confirmed the dates for 2018 World Cup qualifying. The format has been long set, and for the United States -- as well as the other top six ranked teams in the confederation -- it is the same as it was for the 2014 World Cup, but now the dates are also set.

The top six ranked teams in CONCACAF, which includes the U.S., will join the competition in the fourth round. That stage will feature three groups of four, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the final round. The six-team final round, nicknamed The Hex, will put every country into the same group. They will all play each other home-and-away, with the top three teams qualifying for the World Cup. The fourth place team will go to a playoff.

The dates for this year's qualifying are different than in past years. FIFA has eliminated the international dates in February and August, leaving less time for qualifying and forcing CONCACAF to push up the start dates of each round.

Now, the fourth round of qualifying will begin in November of 2015, when it normally began in the summer two years before the World Cup. The Hex used to be played in the year prior to the World Cup, but this time around it will start in November of 2016.

The U.S., like every other team, will play two matches during each date. Traditionally, each team plays one home match and one away match in each window.

Fourth round

- November 7-17, 2015
- March 21-29, 2016
- August 29-September 6, 2016

Final round

- November 7-15, 2016
- March 20-28, 2017
- June 5-13, 2017
- August 28-September 5, 2017
- October 2-10, 2017

Inter-confederation playoff

November 6-14, 2017