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FIFA helping Australia, Honduras, New Zealand, Peru with playoff travel costs

The FC panel caution Australia not to underestimate a gritty Honduras side in the intercontinental playoff.
Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson assess Australia's keys to defeating Honduras and advancing to the 2018 World Cup.

FIFA will pay $600,000 to help teams travel to two intercontinental World Cup playoffs next month.

FIFA says it will contribute $150,000 each toward travel costs for the soccer federations of Australia, Honduras, New Zealand and Peru.

New Zealand media this week reported that soccer officials made their case to FIFA for financial help toward chartering a plane. There are no direct flights to get the All Whites team from the first leg in Wellington on Nov. 11 to the return game in Lima on Nov. 15.


 By John Duerden

Socceroos must overcome history to beat Honduras in World Cup playoff

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson assess Australia's keys to defeating Honduras and advancing to the 2018 World Cup.
Aaron Mooy breaks down how he hoped to impact their match versus Syria and delves into his partnership with Tom Rogic.

All of Asia should be getting behind Australia ahead of next month's intercontinental playoff between the Socceroos and Honduras. Should the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) team be victorious over the CONCAFAF opponents, the continent will have five participants in Russia next June.

While the two confederations have rarely met in World Cup playoffs, no-one can boast more experience than the Aussies, compared to the rest of Asia, in such cut-throat matches. As previous members of Oceania, they...

Senegal call up injured Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane of Senegal
Liverpool's Sadio Mane has been included in Senegal's squad despite his hamstring injury.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has selected star forward Sadio Mane for the final round of FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers, despite the Liverpool man being injured.

Mane has been ruled out for between 6-8 weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury in the 2-0 win against Cape Verde Islands in Praia two weeks ago.

Still, he has been included in the Lions of Teranga squad for the double-header against South Africa, with the first match -- the replay of the fixed match back in March -- set for Polokwane on...

 By Nick Miller

World Cup playoffs: Italy-Sweden top pick, Northern Ireland to spring upset

Alejandro Moreno and Alexis Nunes preview and predict the playoff fixtures of World Cup qualifying.
With the playoff teams set in Europe, the FC crew assess which unseeded side has the best chance of reaching the World Cup.
Martin O'Neill hopes his Ireland players remain injury free over the next few weeks ahead of their playoff versus Denmark.
From Argentina's celebration to Panama's broadcasting jubilation, here's the best of the WCQ final matchday in the Sweeper.

The group phase of World Cup qualification may be over, but there is still space for four more European teams at next summer's finals in Russia.

Tuesday's playoff draw denied us the prospect of Italy facing Republic of Ireland -- who famously defeated the four-time world champions at the 1994 World Cup and also beat the Azzurri to qualify for the knockout phase of Euro 2016 -- and a "derby" that would have pitted Denmark against Nordic neighbours Sweden.

But the four ties -- each to be played over...