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FFA turmoil could harm the Matildas

Australia
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 By John Duerden

World Cup bolters: Daniel Arzani, Lee Seung-woo, Steven Beitashour earn surprise call-ups

Can Australia make an impact at Russia 2018 under new coach Bert van Marwijk? Here's a look at how the Socceroos shape up.
The ESPN panel in London are skeptical of Australia ahead of the World Cup with Bert van Marwijk's defensive mindset and an aging squad.
Ian Darke leads the ESPN panel in predicting the 2018 World Cup winner with names of Germany, Brazil, France and England among the list.

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...

 By Rob Brooks

Australia, and new manager, enter tricky World Cup in state of flux

Can Australia make an impact at Russia 2018 under new coach Bert van Marwijk? Here's a look at how the Socceroos shape up.
The ESPN panel in London are skeptical of Australia ahead of the World Cup with Bert van Marwijk's defensive mindset and an aging squad.
Ian Darke leads the ESPN panel in predicting the 2018 World Cup winner with names of Germany, Brazil, France and England among the list.

The 2018 World Cup is just over a month away, and all 32 teams are preparing in earnest for their shot at the trophy in Russia. ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14. Find all 32 teams here.

Who they are

Captain: Mile Jedinak
Manager: Bert van Marwijk
Nickname: Socceroos
FIFA rank (as of April 12, 2018): 40

How they qualified

The Socceroos qualified the hard way after finishing third behind Japan and Saudi Arabia in Group B of Asia's third...



 By Rob Brooks

Australia's reworked defence holds Colombia to impressive 0-0 draw

Following their 4-1 thumping at the hands of Norway at the weekend, Australia put on a vastly improved performance against Colombia at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night. Though the game ended 0-0, the Socceroos will take plenty of positives from the game, particularly the fact that they kept a clean sheet against a world-class attack.

1. Socceroos' defence holds on

Australia started with a new-look back four of Mark Milligan, Milos Degenek, Aziz Behich and Josh Risdon, which appeared far more solid...

 By John Duerden

Asia's World Cup preparations: How are Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Australia set?

The FC crew debate the necessity of the March international break, weighing the positives for national team coaches ahead of the World Cup against the risks it poses for club teams.

All five Asian World Cup participants are busy in this international break. ESPN FC takes a look at where they all stand as Russia 2018 comes into view.

JAPAN

Opposition: Mali and Ukraine. After tests against Brazil and Belgium last year, Japan stay in Europe for what should be easier games.

The squad: Keisuke Honda returns for the first time since November while injuries rule out Shinji Kagawa and Premier League due Maya Yoshida and Shinji Okazaki. Yosuke Ideguchi -- the midfielder who scored the...

 By Rob Brooks

Australia's appointment of Bert van Marwijk a triumph for pragmatism

The FC crew explain why Australia's outlook at the World Cup is dreary after being drawn with France, Peru and Denmark.
ESPN's Julien Laurens believes France will be very happy after drawing Australia, Peru and Denmark.
Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts evaluate Australia's World Cup group and assess whether they or any other Asian teams can progress.

It's a sad reality that, for many, the very mention of Bert van Marwijk's name conjures one of the most brutal images in World Cup history.

The Dutchman, who was this week unveiled as the manager to take Australia to the 2018 World Cup, was in charge of the Netherlands in 2010 when Nigel de Jong channeled Daniel LaRusso of "The Karate Kid" in a sickening challenge on Spain's Xabi Alonso.

Van Marwijk's no-nonsense style while at the helm of his home country allows for an easy perpetuation of the storyline...

Samantha Kerr, Matildas aiming to gain No. 1 ranking, respect from world

Sky Blues' Sam Kerr has continued her amazing goal streak, kicking her 16th goal of the season, equaling the single-season record set by Kim Little in 2014.

Australia's national women's soccer team has enjoyed quite the year, climbing from eighth to sixth on the FIFA World Rankings, with the expectation of cracking the top five once again when the new list is released in mid-December.

The Matildas posted a historic win over the U.S. as they claimed the Tournament of Nations title in July, and they put an exclamation mark on their year with a comprehensive 5-1 win over China in November that extended their winning run to seven matches. Despite that triumphant...