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Stielike seeks to close gap

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

AFC: Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia win as China and Iran draw

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts discuss super-sub Tim Cahill and Australia's performance in a 1-0 win over U.A.E.

Nawaf Al-Abed fired two late penalties as three-time Asian champions Saudi Arabia came from behind to beat Iraq 2-1 to make it two wins out of two in the third round of 2018 AFC World Cup qualifying.

The Group B match, played on neutral soil at Shah Alam Stadium in Malaysia, saw Mohannad Abdul-Raheem give Iraq the lead after 18 minutes. It was the Al Zawraa striker's seventh international goal in his 26th appearance.

But, just as the Iraqis seemed on course for their first victory of the final phase...

 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

Syria-South Korea World Cup qualifier moved to Malaysia

War-torn Syria's World Cup qualifier with South Korea has been moved from Macau to Malaysia, the Asian Football Confederation told Agence France-Presse on Thursday.

Macau was a late withdrawal as host after talks between Syria and Macau broke down. South Korea, unsure about Tuesday's match, cancelled their bookings for the southern Chinese territory, AFP reported.

An AFC official told AFP via email that the match would be held at the 20,000-seat Paroi Stadium in Seremban, south of the Malaysian capital...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Australia open with victory vs. Iraq as Japan lose to UAE in AFC WCQ

Asian champions Australia eased to a 2-0 victory over Iraq in Perth as regional powerhouses Japan suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to United Arab Emirates in 2018 AFC World Cup qualifying on Thursday night.

The first matchday of the third round qualification also saw South Korea survive a late comeback to beat China 3-2 in Seoul.

The Socceroos were made to work hard by the 2007 Asian champions in Group B, relying on two goals in four second-half minutes as Massimo Luongo (61st) and Tomi Juric (65th)...

 By Jason Dasey

Asian Games could provide lifeline for Tottenham's Son Heung-Min

The Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang have emerged as unlikely, but crucial destinations in the topsy-turvy career of South Korean winger Son Heung-Min.

After a disappointing Rio Olympics, and with the 24-year-old reportedly facing an uncertain future at Tottenham Hotspur, the 2018 Asian Games on Indonesian soil are already coming into focus for Korea's top young players.

A gold medal at the multi-sports event would excuse all team members from having to serve the mandatory National Service...