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Iran win to become first Asian nation to qualify for World Cup

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Serdar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi scored in each half to punch Iran's ticket to the 2018 World Cup.

Goals from Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi and yet another clean sheet ensured Iran became the first Asian nation to book their place at next year's World Cup as a 2-0 win over Uzbekistan on Monday evening secured Carlos Queiroz's team a berth in Russia.

Azmoun put his side in the lead in the 23rd minute before a goal from Taremi sealed Iran's progress to next year's finals two minutes from time.

The Iranians join Brazil as the only nations to have qualified for Russia 2018 so far, with Azmoun scoring...

 By John Duerden

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

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

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...

 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...