ASIA may be a poor cousin in terms of the regional federations of FIFA but this past week, at least in one sense, it came out way ahead of Europe. The two biggest live matches on offer were World Cup play-offs - Italy v Russia (ESPN and TVB Jade) and Japan v Iran (STAR Sports). And the latter match beat the former hands down for excitement and entertainment as Japan's 'tora, tora, tora' approach was in stark contrast to Italy's 'what we have we hold' attitiude and Russia's dismal air of indifference. In fact, STAR and Wharf's coverage of the Asian World Cup qualifiers over the past two mon-ths deserves a special mention as the two qualifying groups produced plenty of skill and drama. STAR's more comprehensive coverage was rewarded with some great goals and climaxed fittingly in the best game of all as Japan won in the final minute of golden goal extra-time against Iran. What a thriller, enhanced by the near-hysterical excitement of commentator John Dykes whose welcome enthusiasm is to be admired if sometimes it goes over the top. The only question mark has to be why STAR didn't promote this match better? Having carried all the 40 group matches, the satellite channel miskicked badly by not flagging the big showdown in Johor Bahru. It was not listed on original schedules which is strange as it was known about long in advance. We're back to Champions' League action this week and it's the second time for ATV to show a live match. Unfortunately, as with a fortnight ago, their fixture is exactly the same as the one on ESPN which this week is Feyenoord v Juventus. With STAR showing Monaco v Sporting Lisbon live, that's a choice of two games on three channels.