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Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea lead expanded field at '19 Asian Cup

The newly-expanded 2019 Asian Cup that kicks off on Saturday in Abu Dhabi with hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) against Bahrain may feature some new teams but those contesting the final on Feb. 1 in the same city are likely to be more than familiar.

The usual quartet of Japan, South Korea, Australia and Iran are favourites among a field that now contains 24 runners instead of 16. Only the last of that quartet still have the same coach in the UAE as they had in Russia last summer at the World Cup....

 By John Duerden

South Korea, Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Australia looking to January's Asian Cup

Asia's five teams are all home from Russia, but January's 2019 Asian Cup already looms large on the horizon.

Here's a look at lessons all the AFC nations learned from the 2018 World Cup and what needs to be done in the coming weeks and months.

South Korea

Despite the stunning 2-0 win against Germany, South Korea's World Cup was a disappointment. There were some positives with the Taeguk Warriors, however.

First and foremost, the team have their No. 1 for the Asian Cup and perhaps years to come....

Cristiano Ronaldo struggles and VAR takes centre stage but Portugal do enough to advance

SARANSK, Russia -- Three quick thoughts from Portugal's 1-1 draw with Iran at Mordovia Arena, which sees Fernando Santos' European champions finish second in Group B behind Spain.

1. Santos' attacking changes get the job done

There's a shop in Munich city centre that sells an cast-iron, wood-fired orange outdoor hot tub. Imagine sitting in that on the hottest day of the year, slowly dissolving, next to ten screaming, bouncing guys blowing vuvuzelas in your face. That's what it was like in the...

Ronaldo faces friend-turned-foe when he takes on 'dad' Carlos Queiroz and Iran in World Cup

Charlie Gibson sets out to find the answer to the question on everyone's lips - who is the GOAT???

MOSCOW -- Men's football is a game of fathers and sons, biological and adopted, real and imagined. Monday night's game between Iran and Portugal is a loser-loses-it-all clash for the right to advance to the last 16.

Portugal advance with a win or draw, Iran with a win.

Iran versus Portugal features a rather bad-blood, personal contest between Ronaldo and the man who stands in his way of greatness, Carlos Queiroz, both seen here at Manchester United in happier times.

But the high-stakes match in Saransk also pits two compatriots against each other who were once so close that Team Melli coach Carlos Queiroz was referred to as Cristiano Ronaldo's "dad" by his then Manchester United teammate...

 By John Duerden

Iranian women's fight to watch football in stadiums reaches tipping point

Iran fans enjoying the World Cup in Russia.

Iran's support in Russia has been impressive.

Thousands of fans celebrated the last-minute winner against Morocco on June 15, and they are now hoping Team Melli can defeat Portugal on Monday to extend their stay at the 2018 World Cup. If nothing else, it will give the female members who have travelled from Iran more chances to see their heroes in the flesh.

This is because the Iranian government has not allowed women into stadiums to see all-male sporting events since 1980, a year after the Islamic...

Diego Costa's fluke goal edges Spain past Iran, closer to knockout rounds

KAZAN, Russia -- Three quick thoughts from Spain's 1-0 World Cup group-stage win over Iran at the Kazan Arena on Wednesday:

1. Costa's fluke edges Spain closer to last 16

It has been a World Cup of strange bobbles, ricochets and bounces, and this time it was Spain's turn to profit. Diego Costa knew little about the early second-half goal that broke Iran's resistance, which had threatened to turn a frustrating night into a hugely damaging one. But they all count and, while Iran could point...