After indifferent performances with experimental teams, Japan boss Javier Aguirre decided to get the band back together last Tuesday. A lineup that wouldn't have been out of place at the 2011 Asian Cup final against Australia saw the Samurai Blue again singing from the same songbook and hitting those familiar notes in the second half of a friendly against the same opposition in Osaka. At the end of a 2-1 win, the fact that everything seemed so much better with the old guard in place was a source...
Not many football players were mentioned by name in those diplomatic cables released to the world by WikiLeaks a few years ago but Ali Karimi was. Even Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad found the time to get involved in the career of the man they called 'The Wizard Of Tehran" who finally pocketed his wand and hung up his boots earlier this week. Having threatened to quit before, this time it is for real and Asian football has lost a little of its sparkle as a result.
His 117 caps for Iran, Bundesliga...
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...
Team Melli have bowed out of the World Cup in the group stages and ESPNFC blogger Afshin Afshar gives his verdict on the brighter points of the campaign as well as what went wrong.
One sentence, World Cup recap
Iran proved once again that given proper preparations leading in to big tournaments, the country can hold its own against the big boys.
All team assessments
Group Stage: Australia | Bosnia-Herzegovina | Cameroon | Croatia | Ecuador | England | Ghana | Honduras | Italy | Iran
Ivory Coast | Japan | Portugal | Russia | South Korea | Spain
Round of 16: Algeria | Chile | Greece | Mexico
Nigeria | Switzerland | Uruguay | United States
Quarterfinals: Colombia | France | Belgium | Costa Rica
Semifinals: Brazil | Netherlands
Although he found the net only once, striker Reza Ghoochannejad had a great tournament. As the sole striker the Charlton Athletic frontman had to...
France wins group E with a 0-0 draw against Ecuador and Switzerland advances from the group for the first time since 2006. Group F winner Argentina is joined by Nigeria in the round of 16, who advance despite losing to the Albiceleste Wednesday.
Argentina is the fifth CONMEBOL team to advance, matching 2010 as the most ever in the round of 16 for the South American federation.
Here are five notes to know coming out of Matchday 14:
Argentina advances past the group stage for the eighth time in...
Team Melli's 2014 World Cup tournament ended in Salvador on Wednesday at the hands of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The 3-1 defeat was a disappointing ending to a journey that started with doubts against Nigeria, but became more promising after the game (only won in extra-time by a wonder strike from Lionel Messi) against Argentina.
Sadly, the final game against a quality Bosnia-Herzegovina side exposed many of Iran's weaknesses, highlighted their shortcomings, and ended the dream for the millions of passionate...