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 By John Duerden

Keisuke Honda not exactly living the dream at AC Milan

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti explains the predicaments Milan and Inter find themselves in at the start of the Serie A season.
Keisuke Honda
Keisuke Honda has only seen 19 minutes of action for AC Milan this season.

Playing for AC Milan was all Keisuke Honda wanted when growing up in Japan in the 90s and being handed the No. 10 shirt was just even better.

With that individual entry on the bucket list ticked, the 30 year-old may reflect that had his timing, so good on the pitch, been a little better off it then Milan could have been magical in many more ways.

It is not just the time spent on the bench so far this Serie A season -- all but 19 of the 450 minutes Milan have played -- but the feeling that the Osaka-born...

 By John Duerden

Another UAE Panenka nightmare for Japan while Australia cruise past Iraq

Ahmed Khalil was the latest to make the highlight reel with a panenka penalty.

If you want to make friends with football fans in Japan in the near future it's probably best not to mention the United Arab Emirates or Panenka penalties -- though a reference to needing goalline technology will be well-received.

Emotions are running high in the Land of the Rising Sun after losing 2-1 at home to UAE on Thursday evening in the opening game of the final round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Losing the first game in Group B was not part of the Saitama Stadium script but at...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2016 Olympics men's football preview

The Olympic football tournament is almost set to kick off in Rio de Janeiro. Here is a preview of all 16 teams.

GROUP A

BRAZIL: The Brazilians are red-hot favourites to at last win the only title they are lacking, both because of the depleted competition and because they are taking it so seriously. For many Brazilians, the men's football tournament will be the most important part of the Games. Moreover, after years of disappointment, Brazil need something special to bring the fans back onside.

MANAGER:...

 By John Duerden

South Korea, Japan and Iraq look to Olympics to erase World Cup agony

The last time Asia went to Brazil its four representatives failed to win a single game between them. The 2016 Olympics should be a happier hunting ground than the 2014 World Cup. But then it couldn't be any worse.

All three Asian teams -- South Korea, Japan and Iraq -- preparing for the men's football tournament at the Olympics have finished in the last four of the competition in the past. The continent would love to have such a record at the World Cup.

Asia likes the Olympics; it is a big deal...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2016 Olympics men's football final squad lists for all 16 teams

The Olympic football tournament is almost set to kick off in Rio de Janeiro. Here are all the final 18-man squads.

*- Overage player born before 1993.

ALGERIA:

Goalkeepers: Farid Chaal (El Harrach), Abdelkader Salhi (Chlef)

Defenders: Ayoub Abdellaoui (USM Alger), Abdelghani Demmou* (MC Alger), Houari Ferhani (Kabylie), Ryad Keniche (Setif), Miloud Rebiai (Setif)

Midfielders: Haris Belkebla (Tours), Sofiane Bendebka* (Hussein Dey), Abdelraouf Benguit (Paradou), Mohamed Benkhemassa (Alger), Zakaria...

 By John Duerden

Top five matchups in 2018 AFC World Cup final round qualification

Now that the draw for the 2018 AFC World Cup final qualifying round is out, it is time to take a closer look into which of the region's top players will be up against one another as the games play out.

There will be some fascinating matchups over the coming months, as the best teams on the continent fight it out over the course of 10 games.

Only four Asian nations will be guaranteed World Cup spots, with another two facing more playoffs for a chance to make it to Russia 2018.

The matches begin in...