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Asian Cup Group B Review

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Spirited Saudis need to improve in Asian Cup

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 By Dez Corkhill

Malaysia change defensive shape to limit damage in World Cup qualifiers

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and Alistair Edwards preview AFC World Cup qualifying action involving Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

Malaysia's group in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers contains three strong teams who appeared at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, two of whom could embarrass them over the next week.

After just a point from their opening two home games, including a 6-0 humbling by Palestine, Harimau Malaya travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), before hosting Saudi Arabia.

Here are three thoughts from Kuala Lumpur about the games ahead:

1. Malaysia must tighten up defensively

Six-goal maulings in Oman and against Palestine...

Saudi Arabia hire former Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk

Former Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk will lead Saudi Arabia for the next year.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Bert van Marwijk, who coached the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final, has been hired by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian football federation says Van Marwijk will sign a one-year contract.

His first match is a World Cup qualifier on Sept. 3 at home to East Timor.

Saudi Arabia began the second round of Asian qualifying by beating current group leaders Palestine 3-2 in June.

Only the winners of the five-team group, which includes United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, are sure...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Alejandro Sabella turns down Saudi Arabia job

With Sabella set to step down as Argentina manager, the nation's football is at an intriguing junction.
Alejandro Sabella left Argentina after last summer's World Cup.

Former Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella has turned down the chance to take charge of Saudi Arabia.

Sabella, who led Argentina to last summer's World Cup final, had been tipped to return to management with the Saudi national side but has rejected the offer.

Saudi FA press secretary Adnan Al Muaebed told Sport360: "Alejandro Sabella excused himself from coaching the Saudi national team in the coming period.

"We went through gruelling negations with Sabella in order to persuade him, but he declined...

Howard Webb lands refereeing role at Saudi Arabian Football Federation

Webb has been mocked his entire career but still refereed with authority, good sense and class.
Howard Webb retired from professional refereeing last August.

Former Premier League and international referee Howard Webb has agreed a deal to become the head of refereeing of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.

Webb, 44, has been working as technical director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited since retiring from professional refereeing last August.

Webb, one of England's highest-profile referees during his career, was responsible for overseeing the on-field performances of PGMOL match officials in his role of technical director.

He has...

Palestine switch World Cup qualifier to Saudi Arabia

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- The Palestinian Football Federation says its 2018 World Cup qualifier game with Saudi Arabia will be played away from home due to "exceptional circumstances."

A statement from the federation on Sunday did not elaborate further why the Group A game that was supposed to take place in Palestinian territory next week will be held in Saudi Arabia instead.

The change in venue comes after the Palestinians withdrew at the last moment their bid to have Israel suspended from world football...