Three of Asia's five 2018 World Cup representatives chose to name preliminary squads on or before the May 14 deadline. All three nations were forced to make tough decisions, with newly appointed coaches Bert van Marwijk and Shin Tae-yong particularly determined to make their mark on their respective squads. Here are the three surprise inclusions in each of the early lists: Australia: Daniel Arzani Van Marwijk went down the unusual route of naming two preliminary squads. A week after Australia's initial 32-man was named, the Dutchman reduced it to 26 on Tuesday. Daniel Arzani survived the first cut at least and may be about to make his international debut. The 19 year-old Melbourne City star hit form at the right time, coming to the fore in the second half of the just-finished A-League season. The creative midfielder has been exciting fans Down Under and could be a classic late bolter. It is no surprise that Iran boss Carlos Queiroz was also looking at the Iranian-born star named the … [Read more...] about World Cup bolters: Daniel Arzani, Lee Seung-woo, Steven Beitashour earn surprise call-ups
23 man squad world cup
Former Barcelona wonderkid Lee Seung-woo was a surprise inclusion in South Korea's preliminary 28-man squad for the 2018 World Cup named in Seoul on Monday. The 20 year-old forward has yet to make his senior international debut and left the Spanish champion in August 2017 to join Hellas Verona in Italy, scoring his first Serie A goal earlier in May. South Korea will face Sweden, Mexico and Germany in Group F. "Lee is an agile and fast player who can cause problems and get behind opposing defences," coach Shin Tae-yong told a press conference at Korea FA headquarters in Seoul. "I know that he has not had a lot of opportunities to play for his club but he has grown as a player and a person," added Shin who said that he will name his final 23-man squad on June 3, a day before the final deadline. Other debutants are defender Oh-Ban-suk of Jeju United and Incheon United midfielder Moon Seon-min. English Premier League stars Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea City's Ki Sung-yueng … [Read more...] about South Korea preliminary World Cup squad includes Lee Seung-woo, Son Heung-min
What must have been going through Daniel Akpeyi's mind as he watched Ever Banega's superbly curled free kick sail past him and nestle inside the net for Argentina's first goal in last week's friendly in Krasnodar? It was just punishment for a basic horror error from the keeper, as he picked up the ball after dropping it outside his box. He was fortunate to have escaped a red card for the offence, but was caught wrong-footed by Banega's fine free kick. In typical Nigerian fashion, some comments on Twitter suggested wryly that perhaps his town folk were after him, or that he had offended some local deity in his village. You could forgive Akpeyi for also questioning whether the gods were conspiring against him when he knelt down contemplating the error that had gifted the Argentines not just the free kick, but the goal. Thankfully, that was as bad as it got against the Argentines, as the goalkeeper recovered to make two excellent stops not long after. By then, though, it was too late. He … [Read more...] about Daniel Akpeyi must shut out criticism if he’s to reach the World Cup
Australia's next generation of football talent has been given the nod to start the Socceroos' path to the 2022 World Cup. Coach Graham Arnold has picked 12 players with 10 caps or fewer to their name in his 23-man squad for the opening qualifier against Kuwait on Sept. 10. Scottish-born Stoke City defender Harry Souttar, on loan at Fleetwood Town in England's League One, is the only uncapped player in the squad, with Brandon Borrello, Ajdin Hrustic and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne all boasting just one cap each. - World Cup 2022 qualifying: All you need to know On the other end of the experience scale, captain Mark Milligan has ended doubts about his ongoing international career with the 34-year-old named in what will be his 80th appearance for the national team. Fellow regulars Mat Ryan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie, Trent Sainsbury and Massimo Luongo are also included in the squad. "I find it exciting for the Socceroos and the nation that there were so many more players in contention for … [Read more...] about Socceroos’ next generation primed for 2022 World Cup
When Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup just over eight years ago, there were accusations from certain parts of the globe that this was a country with little to no football history. In truth, the feeling was the same in much of Asia. That can't be said any more as the team amazingly defeated Japan 3-1 in the final of the 2019 Asian Cup on Friday in Abu Dhabi, becoming continental champions for the first time and in their first final appearance. To be fair, it was fully deserved on the night and in this tournament overall. Qatar, no minnow by any stretch but not one of the favourites before things kicked off in the United Arab Emirates in early January, have been by some distance the standout team of the tournament. Nineteen goals scored and just one conceded tells its own story, but there are plenty more. Take striker Almoez Ali, for example. It took the 22-year-old just 12 minutes to open the scoring at Zayed Sports City against a team looking for a fifth title in a fifth … [Read more...] about Qatar, World Cup 2022 hosts, just won the 2019 Asian Cup. Are they better than we thought?