Sub-editor/Correspondent, Singapore
Patrick's Feed
Jun 6, 2014

Nekounam has abundance of responsibility for Iran

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – Playmaker, captain, penalty taker and free-kick specialist, Iran midfielder Javad Nekounam has an abundance of responsibility as Team Melli prepare for their fourth World Cup appearance.

The 33-year-old, though, has a wealth of experience to draw on having made more than 130 appearances for the three-times Asian champions since making his debut 14 years ago.

Jun 6, 2014

Queiroz hopes for last laugh in Iran adventure

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – Carlos Queiroz’s tempestuous three-year spell in charge of Iran is expected to end after mission impossible at the World Cup, where he will attempt to steer the team to the knockout stages for the first time and silence his critics.

Despite leading the Iranians to a fourth World Cup finals appearance by winning their Asian qualifying group last year, the Mozambique-born Queiroz has seen his tactics and team selections placed under continual scrutiny.

Jun 6, 2014

Undercooked Iran face challenge for goals and points

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – Iran head to Brazil as Asia’s top-ranked nation but their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time have been hampered by a lack of top class friendly opposition and a wave of negativity surrounding the team.

After booking their spot in the finals by winning their qualifying group last June, Iran, ranked number one in Asia and 37th in the world by FIFA, did not play a friendly until they lost 2-1 at home to Guinea in March.

Jun 6, 2014

Soccer-World-Nekounam has abundance of responsibility for Iran

June 6 (Reuters) – Playmaker, captain, penalty taker and free-kick specialist, Iran midfielder Javad Nekounam has an abundance of responsibility as Team Melli prepare for their fourth World Cup appearance.

The 33-year-old, though, has a wealth of experience to draw on having made more than 130 appearances for the three-times Asian champions since making his debut 14 years ago.

Jun 6, 2014

Soccer-World-Queiroz hopes for last laugh in Iran adventure

June 6 (Reuters) – Carlos Queiroz’s tempestuous three-year spell in charge of Iran is expected to end after mission impossible at the World Cup, where he will attempt to steer the team to the knockout stages for the first time and silence his critics.

Despite leading the Iranians to a fourth World Cup finals appearance by winning their Asian qualifying group last year, the Mozambique-born Queiroz has seen his tactics and team selections placed under continual scrutiny.

Jun 6, 2014

Soccer-World-Undercooked Iran face challenge for goals and points

June 6 (Reuters) – Iran head to Brazil as Asia’s top-ranked nation but their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time have been hampered by a lack of top class friendly opposition and a wave of negativity surrounding the team.

After booking their spot in the finals by winning their qualifying group last June, Iran, ranked number one in Asia and 37th in the world by FIFA, did not play a friendly until they lost 2-1 at home to Guinea in March.

Jun 5, 2014

Honda carries burden of Japan’s Cup challenge

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – If Japan are going to make a first World Cup quarter-final they will require Keisuke Honda to be firing on all cylinders.

The bleach-blond playmaker is the central figure in coach Alberto Zaccheroni’s attacking plans with the Asian champions, who are competing at their fifth successive World Cup since their debut appearance in 1998, confident of improving on their last-16 exit by Paraguay four years ago.

Jun 5, 2014

Zaccheroni’s flair faces acid test with Japan

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – Alberto Zaccheroni has done his best over four years in charge of Japan to dismiss the stereotype of Italian football men being focused on defence.

The Italian coach has transformed the Blue Samurai into a high-tempo attacking unit full of flair and capable of cutting open and scoring against the toughest of oppositions.

Jun 5, 2014

Defensive frailties hinder Japan’s Brazil ambitions

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – Japan’s attacking flair and favorable draw have boosted belief they can reach a first World Cup quarter-final, but those ambitions rely on coach Alberto Zaccheroni being able to fix their leaky defense.

The Asian champions have been paired with Colombia, Ivory Coast and Greece in an even-looking Group C in Brazil, their fifth consecutive appearance at the finals.

Jun 5, 2014

Honda carries burden of Japan’s World Cup challenge

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – If Japan are going to make a first World Cup quarter-final they will require Keisuke Honda to be firing on all cylinders.

The bleach-blond playmaker is the central figure in coach Alberto Zaccheroni’s attacking plans with the Asian champions, who are competing at their fifth successive World Cup since their debut appearance in 1998, confident of improving on their last-16 exit by Paraguay four years ago.