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Syria's Mourinho approach played down

Syria
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 By John Duerden

Iran, Japan and South Korea victorious in AFC World Cup qualifiers

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts recap the big wins for Japan, South Korea and Iran in AFC World Cup qualifying.

Iran moved to within a single victory of the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over China in front of 100,000 fans at the Azadi Stadium.

Medhi Taremi's goal early in the second half broke stiff Chinese resistance and put Carlos Queiroz's men on 17 points from seven games in the third round of qualification with three games left to play. With the top two from Group A and B heading to Russia next summer, Iran are now within touching distance of the finals.

Zeng Cheng was a busy man in the...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

China claim historic win against South Korea as Australia held by Iraq

Marcello Lippi's China took a shocking first half lead over South Korea as Yu Dabao's goal was the decider.

Yu Dabao's header and a stirring second-half performance by goalkeeper Zeng Cheng saw China claim a 1-0 win over South Korea on Thursday that keeps alive Marcello Lippi's side's slim hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals.

Yu headed in the winner 11 minutes before the break while Zeng made a trio of superb saves to deny Uli Stielike's side in the second half as the Chinese notched up their first win over the South Koreans in seven years, and only their second ever victory against...

U.S. travel ban could affect chances of hosting 2026 World Cup - FIFA chief

ESPN FC's Herculez Gomez weighs the pros and cons of a 2026 World Cup joint-bid between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino indicated on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban could prevent the United States from hosting the World Cup.

"It's obvious when it comes to FIFA competitions as well, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup," Infantino said.

Trump's latest executive order bars new visas for people from six countries and temporarily...

Cristiano Ronaldo makes donation, tells Syrian children: Don't lose hope

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his anguish over the plight of children in war-shattered Syria and made a donation to help fund emergency supplies in Aleppo.

Aleppo has witnessed four years of brutal fighting between rebels and government forces until Thursday when opposition fighters left, putting the government in full control for the first time since 2012.

In a video message posted on his official Twitter account, the Portugal captain said: "This is for the children of Syria....

 By John Duerden

Marcello Lippi fails to inspire China while Australia draw 2-2 in Thailand

Paul Pogba pays homage to Conor McGregor's walk and David Alaba falls victim to Thiago's nutmeg in The Sweeper.
China coach Marcello Lippi
Marcello Lippi took charge of his first competitive game as China head coach.

Marcello Lippi was unable to inspire China to a win in his first game in charge as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Qatar in a AFC World Cup qualifier in Kunming on Tuesday evening.

The hosts are bottom of Group A in the final round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup with just one point from the first four games, and the result almost certainly ends the slim hopes they had of finishing in the top two in the six-team group and progressing automatically to Russia.

China had plenty of chances but...