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AfghanistanAfghanistan
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ChinaChina
South KoreaSouth Korea
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 By Chris Atkins

Lippi and China breathe again as win over Korea boosts World Cup hopes

China's Yu Dabao scored the first goal against South Korea.
Yu Dabao's first half header sent China on their way to a critical win over rivals South Korea in World Cup qualifying.

The widespread outpouring of emotion following Thursday night's World Cup qualification victory over South Korea should settle any lingering questions over whether China has or will ever truly take to football.

In the words of China's People's Daily newspaper: "In winning one game, you have won 1.3 billion hearts."

The echoes of a 1-0 win in the bowels of Changsha's Helong Stadium reverberated around the country. Indeed, Yu Dabao's first half headed goal has propelled the former Benfica...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ong Kim Swee to honour Malaysia contract despite TMJ appointment

Jason Dasey chats with Malaysia's Ong Kim Swee about his side's draw against the Philippines and his future as head coach.

Datuk Ong Kim Swee says he has a contract until December and plans on honouring his commitments as national coach, despite the imminent appointment of Crown Prince of Johor as the new Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president.

Saturday's FAM Congress is due to confirm the Johor Darul Ta'zim owner, better known as TMJ, in the top job after his only rival Tan Sri Annuar Musa pulled out of the race 48 hours before the vote.

Ong, who returned to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday evening after Malaysia's...

Mile Jedinak: Australia lost the physical battle against Iraq

Mitch Langerak says Australia will lament their missed chances, as Iraq turned things around in the second half.
Australia's late surge was not enough as a resilient Iraq held the Aussies to a 1-1 draw in Group B of AFC WCQ.

Mile Jedinak admits Australia lost the physical battle against Iraq in their tense 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Tehran on Thursday.

An awful pitch at PAS Stadium and constant rain made for scrappy contest, but Australia struggled to deal with Iraq's constant bombardment of long balls.

Coach Ange Postecoglou said they were second-best in the air, an area that has traditionally been the team's strength, and invited pressure upon themselves.

It was a surprise considering so many of the Socceroos...

 By Gabriel Tan

Shawal Anuar scores first Singapore goal in friendly loss to Afghanistan

AfghanistanAfghanistan
SingaporeSingapore
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1
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ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and Stanley Bernard looks ahead to Singapore's Asian Cup qualifier against Bahrain in Group E.

Shawal Anuar scored his first international goal but it was not enough to prevent Singapore from falling to a 2-1 friendly defeat to Afghanistan in Doha on Thursday night.

After Sharif Mukhammad had handed Afghanistan a fifth-minute lead at the Al Sailiya Sports Complex, Shawal got the Lions back in the contest with a clinical strike immediately after the restart.

But Mustafa Azadzoy capitalised on some sloppy defensive play to help the Afghans score the winner in the 57th minute.

In what was...

 By Nicolas Anil

Ex-JDT ace Safee Sali hails appointment of TMJ as FAM boss

Jason Dasey and Stanley Bernard discuss the Johor Prince's new role as FAM president after Tan Sri Annuar Musa withdrew from the race.

Malaysia striker Safee Sali welcomed the imminent appointment of Tunku Sultan Ismail, who is set to become the new Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) supremo, after his rival Tan Sri Annuar Musa pulled out of the presidency race on Thursday.

The Johor Royal, also known as TMJ, will be officially confirmed as FAM's 15th president on Saturday, 84 years since the inaugural leader Sir Andrew Caldecott assumed the position in 1933.

Safee, who returned home from Manila along with his teammates...

 By John Duerden

China record historic win vs. South Korea; Australia might not qualify

Australia's late surge was not enough as a resilient Iraq held the Aussies to a 1-1 draw in Group B of AFC WCQ.

On a busy night of World Cup qualification in Asia, China made history by defeating South Korea for only the second time and in doing so blew Group A wide open.

Yu Dabao's first half header sent fans in Changsha and the country in general wild with delight and try as Korea might, they struggled to turn possession and pressure into chances in the absence of the suspended Son Heung-min as the match ended 1-0 in favour of the hosts.

Marcello Lippi has now done what no other coach of China has done:...