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Asian Cup: Champions Australia stumble but big boys make it, Yemen bow out

Australia made it through but had to dig deep.

The group stage of the 2019 Asian Cup is over, but there have been plenty of talking points from the competition so far. Here are five things you may have missed.

Champions Australia stumble but big boys stroll through

At the end of Australia's opening game defeat to Jordan, the dry desert air was abuzz with talk of an upset. Could the champions, with their injuries and seeming underestimation of their group rivals, be heading for an early exit?

However, when only eight teams out of 24 are eliminated...

Asian Cup debut a rare source of good news for war-torn Yemen

Yemen
The Yemen national team will make their Asian Cup debut on Monday against Iran.

Yemen will be making their Asian Cup debut when they face three-time champions Iran on Monday and, while the players are set to be thrust into the limelight like never before, the team's assistant coach is confident stage fright will not be an issue.

Milos Brozek told Reuters that Yemen, the tournament's lowest-ranked national team at No. 135, had nothing to lose when they face the highly fancied Iranians in Abu Dhabi.

"Sometimes if you are somewhere for the first time you don't really realize just...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Philippines, Yemen both qualify for Asian Cup for first time

Philippines beat Tajikistan to advance to the Asian Cup.

Philippines, North Korea and Yemen earned the final three qualification places for next year's Asian Cup on Tuesday.

Philippines beat Tajikistan 2-1 in Manila to secure their spot, a result that also meant Yemen qualified before they even took the pitch against Nepal.

Needing a draw to qualify, Philippines -- managed by former United States international Thomas Dooley -- fell behind in the 64th minute as Ahktam Nazarov converted a penalty.

But Kevin Ingreso equalised with a header 10 minutes later,...

U.S. travel ban could affect chances of hosting 2026 World Cup - FIFA chief

ESPN FC's Herculez Gomez weighs the pros and cons of a 2026 World Cup joint-bid between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino indicated on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban could prevent the United States from hosting the World Cup.

"It's obvious when it comes to FIFA competitions as well, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup," Infantino said.

Trump's latest executive order bars new visas for people from six countries and temporarily...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Australia, Jordan cruise in World Cup qualifiers as Thailand, Japan advance

Australia hammered Tajikistan 7-0 in AFC World Cup qualifying in Ange Postecoglou's biggest win as head coach on Thursday.

The Socceroos went ahead through Massimo Luongo in the second minute, then Mile Jedinak slotted home a penalty in the 13th and went into the break at 2-0.

However, the floodgates opened in the second half as another penalty from Mark Milligan made it 3-0 in the 57th minute and Nathan Burns and Tomas Rogic both netted braces in the latter stages to put a gloss on the scoreline.

Australia...