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Japan must choose wisely

Japan
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Izwan brilliant as Singapore hold mighty Japan in World Cup Qualifying

A hero in last month's Malaysia FA Cup final, goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud excelled for Singapore in Japan.

Izwan Mahbud put on a goalkeeping masterclass to help Singapore hold Asian giants Japan to a 0-0 draw in their 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Saitama Stadium on Tuesday night.

On the night of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games closing ceremony, the Lions produced a courageous performance to stun Japan's new head coach Vahid Halihodzic in his first competitive match and leave a crowd of more than 55,000 shocked.

Singapore now sit top of Group E on four points after negotiating their two away games...

Safuwan could miss Singapore's World Cup Qualifier against Japan

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and Alistair Edwards recap the latest batch of AFC World Cup qualifying matches for Singapore and Malaysia.

Singapore could be without utility man Safuwan Baharudin against four-time Asian champions Japan in Saitama for their second 2018 World Cup Group E Qualifier on Tuesday night.

Safuwan was the star of Thursday's 4-0 win in Cambodia, scoring two first half goals.

Coach Bernd Stange confirmed that the 23-year-old Malaysia FA Cup winner with LionsXII -- who had a successful loan spell with A-League club Melbourne City earlier this year -- had flown back from Japan to attend to a family matter and is...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Cesc Fabregas goal helps Spain defeat Costa Rica in friendly

Cesc Fabregas scored one goal and set up another to lead Spain's 2-1 comeback win over Costa Rica in a friendly on Thursday.

Johan Venegas put Costa Rica ahead in the fifth minute, but Fabregas passed for Paco Alcacer to level two minutes later. Fabregas scored Spain's second goal on the half-hour mark.

Aleix Vidal played a part in Fabregas' goal in his international debut, but Barcelona's new signing was substituted at half-time after Costa Rica defender Giancarlo Gonzalez landed on his left ankle...

 By PA Sport

Japan name squad for World Cup qualifier against Singapore

Yoshinori Muto will play for Japan this summer before starting his Bundesliga career with Mainz.

J-League top scorer Takashi Usami and Mainz-bound forward Yoshinori Muto were among 25 players named by Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic on Monday for this month's World Cup qualifier against Singapore and a friendly against Iraq.

Japan open their World Cup qualifying campaign on June 16 at Saitama Stadium, five days after hosting Iraq in Yokohama.

"Usami has tremendous talent and will only get better," Halilhodzic said of the Gamba Osaka striker. "He has a lot to offer to the national team."

Halilhodzic...

 By John Duerden

Why a Premier League relegation scrap is not the best move for Shinji Okazaki

Japan striker Shinji Okazaki has been the main man for Bundesliga club Mainz over the past two seasons.

How long can you be underrated when you are continually described that way? Perhaps Shinji Okazaki knows, even if that phase of the Japanese forward's career is behind him. The Mainz man, who is now one of Bundesliga's best, has been the club's go-to-guy for goals over the past two seasons. Fans in Germany as well as Asia know what Okazaki has to offer, but it looks like it is time for him to move on.

There is talk of Leicester City readying a bid of around $12 million for the striker. There is...