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South Korea warn against LVG, AVB rumours

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 By John Duerden

South Korea warn media against manager speculation; Louis van Gaal, Andre Villas-Boas linked

From best moment to the best coach, Kasey Keller and Ross Dyer pick what stood out most for them from a never-to-be-forgotten group stage.
Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez explain what it was like seeing Mexico fans embrace South Korea during El Tri's 3-0 defeat against Sweden.
South Korea's Son Heung-min scored his side's second goal deep into stoppage time to send Germany out of the World Cup.
El Tri fans vocalise their appreciation after South Korea helped Mexico to advance to the round of 16 by defeating Germany 2-0 in Kazan.
Defending champions Germany have been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup after losing to South Korea in Kazan.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) has warned domestic media that speculation over the potential arrival of big name bosses such as Louis van Gaal, Andre Villas-Boas and Luiz Felipe Scolari could harm the search for a new national team coach.

The KFA announced that it is are looking at a list of fewer than 10 possible replacements for Shin Tae-yong should they decide not to offer the 49-year-old a new contract following their World Cup group stage exit.

They denied making any contact with such...

 By John Duerden

South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong has to attack Mexico to keep World Cup spot

Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez report from Rostov ahead of Mexico's Group F match Saturday against South Korea.

ROSTOV -- South Korea had not lost an opening game at the World Cup since 1998 until last Monday. That 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sweden was not the best way to kick off a tough group that continues with a game against Mexico on Saturday and then ends with Germany. The focus now is not on trying to get to the knockout stages but simply on avoiding elimination with a game against the defending champions still to come.

It would be a major embarrassment for Asia's most successful World Cup nation if...

 By John Duerden

Iran have nothing to fear vs. Spain, Portugal - they have Carlos Queiroz

With just one World Cup group stage win to their name, Iran will have their work cut out for them in a challenging Group B.
ESPN FC's Stewart Robson wasn't overly impressed with Iran and doesn't feel there's a way back for Morocco after their late capitulation.

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia -- Carlos Queiroz has guided three national teams to four World Cups but the game against Spain on Wednesday could prove to be his finest hour and a half, not just on the global stage but in a long and distinguished coaching career. If all goes well in Kazan vs. Spain, and then against Portugal in Saransk, the 65-year-old will have secured his reputation as one of the world's top coaches.

He was already up there in the eyes of his Iran players after they threw him into the...

 By John Duerden

Southeast Asian nations could co-host 2034 World Cup, says official

The Exploding Heads are pumped for Germany and Brazil on day four of the World Cup, but also reveal the Joker 9 card in anti-fantasy football.
The guys respond to your tweets about breakout stars in Russia, Cristiano Ronaldo's Golden Boot chances and former USMNT players backing Mexico.
Recap all the key storylines from the third day of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Malaysia's member of the FIFA Council has suggested that Southeast Asian countries could combine to host the 2034 World Cup.

Tengku Abdullah, speaking to reporters after returning from the FIFA Congress in Moscow, said four countries from the region, which lies between India to the west and China to the east and is home to around 700 million people, would have a strong case when the decision is made in 2026.

"ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] has an opportunity and the strength to put...

Australia's Andrew Nabbout caps stellar rise with World Cup selection

Mathew Leckie's double led the way for Australia in their World Cup tune-up as they defeated the Czech Republic with ease.

As Bert van Marwijk revealed Australia's 23-man World Cup squad on Sunday, the astonishing rise of striker Andrew Nabbout was made complete.

Just three years ago, after struggling to find another contract in Australia's A-League, Nabbout made the unlikely switch to the Malaysian second division with unheralded outfit Negeri Sembilan in an attempt to resurrect his fledgling career.

Though the move took him completely out of view from those in his homeland, he worked tirelessly on his game, netting...

 By John Duerden

Saudi Arabia impress, South Korea need tougher tests, Japan struggling in defence

Juan Antonio Pizzi will be the new man on the sideline as Saudi Arabia look to spring a surprise in Group A.
In their four World Cup appearances, Iran have never made it out of the group stages. Will they finally find form in Russia?

Four of Asia's five representatives started the final phase of preparations for the 2018 World Cup this week with friendlies against a variety of opponents.

ESPNFC looks at the big lessons that emerged from the respective games.

Saudi Arabia may not need a striker

On the face of it, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament (67) have a mountain to climb at their first World Cup since 2006 and Group A games against hosts Russia, Uruguay and Egypt.

Saudi Arabia can however take plenty of positives...