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FFA turmoil could harm the Matildas

Australia
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 By Rob Brooks

Australia's reworked defence holds Colombia to impressive 0-0 draw

Following their 4-1 thumping at the hands of Norway at the weekend, Australia put on a vastly improved performance against Colombia at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night. Though the game ended 0-0, the Socceroos will take plenty of positives from the game, particularly the fact that they kept a clean sheet against a world-class attack.

1. Socceroos' defence holds on

Australia started with a new-look back four of Mark Milligan, Milos Degenek, Aziz Behich and Josh Risdon, which appeared far more solid...

 By John Duerden

Asia's World Cup preparations: How are Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Australia set?

The FC crew debate the necessity of the March international break, weighing the positives for national team coaches ahead of the World Cup against the risks it poses for club teams.

All five Asian World Cup participants are busy in this international break. ESPN FC takes a look at where they all stand as Russia 2018 comes into view.

JAPAN

Opposition: Mali and Ukraine. After tests against Brazil and Belgium last year, Japan stay in Europe for what should be easier games.

The squad: Keisuke Honda returns for the first time since November while injuries rule out Shinji Kagawa and Premier League due Maya Yoshida and Shinji Okazaki. Yosuke Ideguchi -- the midfielder who scored the...

 By Rob Brooks

Australia's appointment of Bert van Marwijk a triumph for pragmatism

The FC crew explain why Australia's outlook at the World Cup is dreary after being drawn with France, Peru and Denmark.
ESPN's Julien Laurens believes France will be very happy after drawing Australia, Peru and Denmark.
Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts evaluate Australia's World Cup group and assess whether they or any other Asian teams can progress.

It's a sad reality that, for many, the very mention of Bert van Marwijk's name conjures one of the most brutal images in World Cup history.

The Dutchman, who was this week unveiled as the manager to take Australia to the 2018 World Cup, was in charge of the Netherlands in 2010 when Nigel de Jong channeled Daniel LaRusso of "The Karate Kid" in a sickening challenge on Spain's Xabi Alonso.

Van Marwijk's no-nonsense style while at the helm of his home country allows for an easy perpetuation of the storyline...

Samantha Kerr, Matildas aiming to gain No. 1 ranking, respect from world

Sky Blues' Sam Kerr has continued her amazing goal streak, kicking her 16th goal of the season, equaling the single-season record set by Kim Little in 2014.

Australia's national women's soccer team has enjoyed quite the year, climbing from eighth to sixth on the FIFA World Rankings, with the expectation of cracking the top five once again when the new list is released in mid-December.

The Matildas posted a historic win over the U.S. as they claimed the Tournament of Nations title in July, and they put an exclamation mark on their year with a comprehensive 5-1 win over China in November that extended their winning run to seven matches. Despite that triumphant...

 By John Duerden

Mat Ryan with something to prove with Australia at World Cup, Japan content

PJ Roberts and Jason Dasey analyse the World Cup draws for the record five Asian teams at Russia 2018.
PJ Roberts and Jason Dasey analyse the World Cup draws for the record five Asian teams at Russia 2018.
PJ Roberts and Jason Dasey analyse the World Cup draws for the record five Asian teams at Russia 2018.

Of all the Asian stars who will be heading from the Premier League to the World Cup next June, Australia and Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan is the one with the most unfinished business. The good news is a group containing France, Denmark and Peru looks a lot better than in 2014.

Back in Brazil, Ryan had not long replaced the venerable Mark Schwarzer as the Socceroos No.1 and had a tough time as Australia were faced with the toughest of groups with Spain, Netherlands and Chile.

The Aussie, 22 at the...

 By Rob Brooks

Manageable group leaves Australia primed for positive World Cup

The FC crew explain why Australia's outlook at the World Cup is dreary after being drawn with France, Peru and Denmark.
ESPN's Julien Laurens believes France will be very happy after drawing Australia, Peru and Denmark.

As Fabio Cannavaro scooped the fourth ball out of pot 4 at the 2018 World Cup draw in Moscow, football fans on the other side of the world -- those who weren't sound asleep, anyway -- grinned with anticipation.

Australia were dealt a much more user-friendly group stage draw than the past three World Cup finals they had qualified for, but the context on this occasion created the intrigue.

In this instance, the Socceroos are without a coach, following the exit of Ange Postecoglou from the post...