Son Heung-min, Azmoun, Taremi and more: Vote for your AFC International Player of the Week!
Kuala Lumpur: The continent is gearing up for the white-hot intensity of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar, and several of the region’s stars ensured they will arrive for national team duty in peak form with superb performances over the past week.
Team Melli’s dream strike duo both found the net, as did Australia’s Martin Boyle and Korean stars - both emerging and established, while no less than four Japanese players are among this week’s nominees after putting in stellar performances for their clubs.
Who was Asia’s standout player outside of the continent from August 25 to 30? Examine our 10 contenders and don’t forget to cast your vote.
Kuala Lumpur: Ahead of the start of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar, the-AFC.com shines the spotlight on some of the key statistics involving the participating sides.
There will be 12 teams competing for four direct tickets to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and we present some of the key facts and figures that give further colour and context to the campaigns that are set to play out on the Road to Qatar.
Lebanon's Melki brothers eye FIFA World Cup breakthrough
Dubai: Over the years, the world of football has witnessed a number of brotherly pairings performing on the same pitch, even with their national teams at FIFA World Cup Finals.
This was the case during the ‘Miracle of Bern’ in 1954, in which Fritz and Ottmar Walter represented the victorious Germans, and at the World Cup in 1966, where the Charlton siblings made a substantial contribution to England’s victory. Other international appearances by footballing brothers include the De Boers (Netherlands), the Laudrups (Denmark), the Ayews (Ghana) and the Hazards, who both competed for Belgium at Russia 2018.
A few months after that World Cup, Swedish-born brothers Robert and Felix Melki enjoyed a moment they had dreamed about their entire lives, when they played alongside each other in an international match, having received a call-up from the Lebanese Football Federation for a friendly against Uzbekistan.
Syria's Mahrous ready for second chance at FIFA World Cup qualification
Tehran: Nizar Mahrous was only 22 when he played in the Asian Qualifiers for the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico. He helped Syria reach the final stage of that preliminary competition only for a 3-1 defeat to Iraq in their final match to squash their dream of a debut appearance at the global Finals.
Today, more than 35 years on, Mahrous is back with the Qasioun Eagles, having been appointed national team coach prior to the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar. Ahead lies an opportunity to make up for that disappointment all those years ago and fulfil the nation’s long-awaited dream of reaching the big stage.
Que: All Vietnamese are dreaming of the FIFA World Cup
Riyadh: Vietnamese eyes will be on their opening game against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Thursday as the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 kicks off. It will be the sides’ third meeting on the qualifying scene, but marks Vietnam's first-ever appearance at this decisive stage.
Indeed, the Southeast Asians had long been the pushovers in Asian qualifying, having invariably suffered early exits over the past two decades.
Under Korea Republic's Park Hang-seo, however, the Golden Star Warriors have emerged a different side in this campaign, powering through the second round from a group which also featured United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.