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Five Aside: Matchday 12

Five Aside Jun 23, 2014
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Australia Await Good News

Rob Brooks May 26, 2014
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Aussie Overhaul

Rob Brooks May 11, 2014
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 By John Duerden
Oct 19, 2014

South Korea, Australia and Japan have Asian Cup questions to answer

Japan head coach Javier Aguirre has one eye on the Asia Cup as they prepare for their international friendly against Brazil.

The Asian Cup is less than three months away, but some of the favourites for that tournament are very much in transitional stages. Too much can be read into results and performances, but as time to kickoff ticks down, some of their concerns need to be addressed.

Those issues have more weight on the heels of a World Cup that for Asia was, well, terrible. That tournament will loom large in the collective continental consciousness for years to come. Costa Rica collected more points than the three...

Sep 23, 2014

Qatar World Cup speculation provides a lot of smoke, but no fire yet

Ever since Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup, hope has remained in some quarters that the tournament would ultimately be taken away from the tiny Middle Eastern country. Allegations of corruption have generated plenty of smoke, as have the appalling working conditions inside the country. Yet there hasn't been any fire, at least by FIFA's narrow definition.

The accumulation of fuel continues, however. The latest addition to the possible pyrotechnics came this week when FIFA Executive...

 By John Duerden
Jul 1, 2014

10 reasons why Asia failed at the World Cup

Carlos Queiroz left his post as Iran manager following his side's exit in the group stages while other Asian clubs struggled this summer.

A look at why Asia struggled as a whole at this World Cup...

Lack of leadership

When Korean coach Hong Myung-bo went to Netherlands to visit Park Ji-sung in March, he wasn't there to scout potential latter stage opposition but to persuade the PSV Eindhoven man to return from international retirement. "This young team needs a veteran," said Hong. Park's knackered knees knocked that idea on the head but it was clear that Korea missed the experience and leadership of such a star. Japan also didn't...

Jun 23, 2014

Five Aside: Matchday 12

With its 4-1 defeat of Cameroon in the capital city of Brasilia, Brazil won its group for the ninth straight World Cup. Mexico finishes as the Group A runner-up with its 3-1 victory over Croatia in Recife, advancing to the round of 16 for the sixth straight World Cup, the third-longest active streak of any team.

Here are five notes on the action from an important matchday 12:

Brazil advances past the group stage for the 12th straight World Cup, the second-longest active streak of any team behind...

Jun 23, 2014

Review needed after Australia exit

2014 FIFA World Cup Group B: Australia 0-3 Spain

After showing so much fight before ultimately succumbing to the talent of Chile and the Netherlands, Australia bowed out of the World Cup with a whimper in their final Group B clash against Spain.

Three gifted opportunities were gleefully accepted by the reigning world champions in a match that, to be fair, often resembled a training run. Though neither side had a hope of qualifying for the knockout phase of the competition, the lack of urgency played right into Spain's hands.

- Alvarez: Three...

Jun 23, 2014

Three Points: Old guard rally for Spain

2014 FIFA World Cup Group B: Australia 0-3 Spain

CURITIBA, Brazil -- Three thoughts on Spain's 3-0 win over Australia in the final game of Group B.

1. Vintage strike force given one last chance

In a telling example of Spain's need for renovation, manager Vicente del Bosque started the same strike duo that led the team to Euro '08 success under Luis Aragones. Amid a testimonial atmosphere in Curitiba, six years later Fernando Torres and David Villa joined forces against Australia in what was very likely their final match -- individually or together...