Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after defeating Ecuador and qualifying to the 2018 World Cup football tournament in Quito

However, later the same day she addressed the concerns, tweeting that "the government is not considering a boycott of the World Cup".

The United States, Canada and Ukraine have also announced the expulsion of dozens more Russian diplomats.

However, comments by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, raised again the spectre of a sporting boycott as she told reporters yesterday that: "There are a whole range of further options of action that could be taken".

At least six countries are planning a "state boycott" of Russia's upcoming 2018 World Cup after a botched nerve agent attack on British soil; announcing all government officials will stay home while their nation's athletes compete in the worldwide soccer competition.


But in sweet relief for Socceroos fans, the prospect of the team not attending the tournament is still a remote possibility.

Bishop has explained the tensions could mean Australia will not participate in the showpiece event in Russian Federation.

Britain announced in mid-March that British royals and ministers would stay away from the Federation Internationale de Football Association tournament set for June 14-July 15.

Iceland, which will compete for the first time at the global showpiece after its surprise qualification, has followed suit.


Marc DiBenedetto and Marcus Kwesi O'Mard examine this week's biggest worldwide friendlies and discuss what they teach us about the teams' prospects for the World Cup and beyond on this week's episode of the "NESN Soccer Show", which you can listen here.

London newspaper The Sun reports Australia is one of a number of countries likely to join this action.

The governing body for Australian football said that as far as it was concerned, the World Cup was going ahead as planned.

Ange Postecoglou's side needed 22 matches in 12 different countries to finally seal a place in Russian Federation.


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