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World Cup Qualifying

 By PA Sport

Yaya Toure welcomes FIFA anti-racism move

Yaya Toure has welcomed FIFA's new system of match observers to monitor incidents of racism and discrimination at FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the build-up to the 2018 tournament in Russia - and says some form of abuse can 'break' players.

Yaya Toure has welcomed FIFA's new system of match observers to monitor incidents of racism and discrimination at World Cup qualifiers in the build-up to the 2018 tournament in Russia, saying abuse can "break" players.

Manchester City midfielder Toure, who suffered racist abuse while playing against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in October 2013, took part in the launch at Wembley Stadium.

Toure said: "I have been in the situation where there have been monkey chants and it's difficult to deal...

Afghanistan, Myanmar pick neutral venues for World Cup games

ZURICH -- FIFA says Afghanistan will host its first 2018 World Cup qualifying match in Iran, and Myanmar chose Thailand as its home venue.

FIFA had ruled Afghanistan unsafe to stage World Cup matches for security reasons. FIFA has confirmed that Afghanistan will play Syria on June 11 at the Samen Stadium in Mashhad, near Iran's border with Afghanistan.

Myanmar is barred from hosting qualifiers by a FIFA disciplinary decision after crowd violence in a 2014 World Cup preliminary round match at Yangon.

On...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Australia face logistical challenge from 2018 WCQ draw - coach Postecoglou

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson assess the positives from Australia's performance against Germany.

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has described their 2018 World Cup qualifying draw as a logistical "challenge" with the Socceroos facing long journeys across Asia.

The 2015 Asian Cup champions avoided Japan, South Korea and Asia's top-ranked FIFA side Iran as they were drawn against Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh in the first stage of qualifiers through the Asian Football Confederation.

The qualifiers for the 2018 tournament in Russia also double as qualifiers for the next...

Latest FIFA world ranking sees Belgium climb to third place

The ESPN FC crew discuss the latest FIFA World Rankings, and are surprised by some of the selections.

ZURICH -- Belgium rose to their highest-ever spot at No. 3 in the latest FIFA monthly rankings, which are still led by World Cup winner Germany.

Argentina are second while Belgium traded places with Colombia, who now sit fourth.

Brazil, who beat France in a friendly last month, rose to No. 5 and swapped places with Netherlands at No. 6.

Morocco African Nations Cup bans in 2017, 2019 to lifted by CAF

The likes of Nordin Amrabat and other Moroccan players will not be seen at the 2015 African Nations' Cup.
Morocco will be permitted to participate in upcoming African Nations Cup tournaments.

CAIRO -- The Confederation of African Football will respect a decision by sport's highest court and lift its ban on Morocco participating in the 2017 and 2019 African Nations Cups.

CAF said Sunday it would comply despite what it called "contradictions" in the ruling by the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAF banned Morocco from the next two African Cups and fined it $1 million for withdrawing as host of this year's tournament.

Morocco cited fears over the spread of the deadly Ebola...