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World Cup Qualifying - AFC

 By John Duerden

Stephen Constantine needs to help maintain Indian World Cup dream

Englishman Stephen Constantine returns for his second stint as coach of the Indian national football team.

India's sporting attention may currently be focused firmly on Australia where the cricket team is trying to defend its World Cup title, but on March 12, there is a hugely important football 2018 World Cup qualifier against Nepal.

The second leg takes place five days later. Basically, by the middle of March, barely eight months after the 2014 tournament ended, before over 90 percent of the planet's teams have started to think about qualification for the showpiece event in Russia, Indian dreams of...

India to play Nepal after first AFC World Cup qualifying draw

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- The first qualifying matches to be played for the 2018 World Cup in Russia have been drawn in Asia.

India will host Nepal on March 12 in the pick of six preliminary-round, first-leg matches drawn on Tuesday by the Asian Football Confederation.

Sri Lanka will be at home first against Bhutan, who are ranked 209th and last among FIFA member federations.

The return matches will be played on March 17.

The draw included the 12 lowest-ranked teams in Asia. Winners advance to a...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Javier Aguirre sacked as Japan coach due to ongoing anti-corruption probe

Japan sacked Mexican coach Javier Aguirre on Tuesday due to his ongoing involvement in an investigation into match-fixing in Spain.
The Japan Football Association (JFA) confirm on Tuesday that coach Javier Aguirre has been sacked over match-fixing allegations.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) has announced the early cancellation of the contract of national coach Javier Aguirre due to the ongoing match-fixing probe against him in Spain from his previous role as manager of La Liga side Real Zaragoza.

Aguirre, who took charge of the Samurai Blue last year following their disappointing exit from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has been under a cloud since Spain's anti-corruption prosecutor named him last December in a probe into Real Zaragoza's...

 By John Duerden

Ten Asian prospects to watch for in 2015

Evan Dimas is on his to becoming the biggest Indonesian star since Bambang Pamungkas.

2015 is upon us, so it's time for ESPN FC to take a look at ten Asian players who will be worth keeping an eye on in the New Year...

1. Evan Dimas (Persebaya Surabaya and Indonesia)

The 19-year-old has been a sensation in Indonesia ever since a 2013 hat-trick against South Korea in qualification for Asia's U-19 Championship. The dimunative midfielder has actually spent time in Barcelona in 2012 after impressing Nike's 'The Chance' talentspotters and earning a place among 100 to train in front of...

AFC: Structural changes will help Asian teams in the 2018 World Cup

AFC general secretary Alex Soosay says the quality of Asian football will improve as more nations take part.

Asian football must shape up or it runs the risk of falling behind, according to Alex Soosay, general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Speaking at the Leaders in Sport Summit in London, Soosay said that Asian football has no option other than adapting to the increasingly competitive nature of the world game. Four Asian countries -- Japan, South Korea, Iran and Australia -- qualified for this year's World Cup finals in Brazil but all of them were eliminated in the group stages...