Luongo misses out on auto World Cup spot


The hoped-for winning of the Syrian team against Iran in their final group match coupled with the possibility of the defeat of South Korea by Uzbekistan in the final round would be the magic potion for the Syrian team to secure the second spot and direct entry to the next year's tournament in Russian Federation.

"Do you know how humiliating it is for Iranian women to know that during the FIFA World Championship qualification games in Tehran, while they were prohibited to enter the stadium, foreign women could be present at the Azadi stadium because they had a foreign passport?".

A last-minute goal against Iran has given Syria an opportunity to secure a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation. I have no doubt that the upcoming match will be very interesting, and the victory in it will be a decisive factor for the exit at the World Cup.

"The world will see how strong South Korea are at the World Cup", he told journalists after Tuesday's stalemate in Tashkent.

Son will experience his second career World Cup next year.

But he conceded: "If we qualify, it will be a victory for Syria, not for the regime".

A former assistant to Uli Stielike, Shin replaced the German for the final two matches of qualifying after Stielike was sacked in June following a disappointing run of results.

"I've survived much worse than this and if anything it motivates me to keep going because I want to make sure Australian football gets on the right path". Little wonder he showed a pragmatic side in maintaining a defensive set-up against Iran, even with a one-man advantage.

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South Korea's fans, however, feared the worst.

South Korea's Lee Keun Ho, Son Heung Min and Lee Dong Gook all hit the woodwork, but it mattered little as they earned a point to seal second place in Group A of Asia's qualifying competition behind already-qualified Iran.

Ahmad al-Masalmeh, an activist based in the southern province of Daraa, said that he supports the team because "they are carrying the name of Syria". To make the World Cup, the victor will then have to beat a team from the Concacaf confederation covering North and Central America, and the Caribbean. I've lost it! No one can stop them!

Stand-in captain Kim Yong Gwon sparked anger and ridicule when he complained that teammates could not hear one another against Iran because of the noise made by 63,000 screaming fans in Seoul's World Cup stadium.

But local television stations and the Korea Football Association (KFA) exhaled a collective sigh of relief.

Australia was unbeaten in qualifying until it lost at Japan last week, a result that ensured Japan secured first place in Group B and a spot in Russian Federation next year.

Syrians have "mixed emotions" about their football team, according to BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent Richard Conway, who spent six days in Damascus earlier this year.