Iraq national football team

The Iraq national football team (Arabic: المنتخب العراقي لكرة القدم‎) represents Iraq in international football and is controlled by the Iraq Football Association (IFA), the governing body for football in Iraq. Most of Iraq's home matches are played at the Basra International Stadium.

Iraq
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Usood Al-Rafidain
(Lions of Mesopotamia)
AssociationIraq Football Association
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationWAFF (West Asia)
Head coachSrečko Katanec
CaptainAlaa Abdul-Zahra
Most capsYounis Mahmoud (148)
Top scorerHussein Saeed (78)
Home stadiumBasra International Stadium
FIFA codeIRQ
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 70 Steady (17 September 2020)[1]
Highest39 (6 October 2004)
Lowest139 (3 July 1996)
Elo ranking
Current 55 Increase 10 (16 September 2020)[2]
Highest22 (3 December 1982)
Lowest95 (6 October 2016)
First international
 Morocco 3–3 Iraq
(Beirut, Lebanon; 19 October 1957)
Biggest win
Iraq 13–0 Ethiopia
(Irbid, Jordan; 18 August 1992)
Biggest defeat
 Turkey 7–1 Iraq
(Adana, Turkey; 6 December 1959)
 Brazil 6–0 Iraq
(Malmö, Sweden; 11 October 2012)
 Chile 6–0 Iraq
(Copenhagen, Denmark; 14 August 2013)
World Cup
Appearances1 (first in 1986)
Best resultGroup stage, 1986
Asian Cup
Appearances9 (first in 1972)
Best resultChampions, 2007
WAFF Championship
Appearances7 (first in 2000)
Best resultChampions, (2002)
Confederations Cup
Appearances1 (first in 2009)
Best resultGroup stage, 2009

Iraq in one of the more successful national teams in Asia, having made one FIFA World Cup appearance, in 1986 in Mexico, but lost all three of their games to Paraguay, Belgium and Mexico; Iraq also made its lone appearance in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, obtained two points and exited from the group stage for losing to Spain. In the AFC Asian Cup, Iraq achieved a respectable record, most notably their successful conquest of 2007 tournament, overcoming all odds before the tournament, making Iraq one of only eight Asian teams to win the competition. In the decade after the 2007 victory, Iraq finished fourth at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Iraq is famous across Asia, especially among West Asians, with passionate football fans, and the national team is also seen as a symbol for Iraq to fight against negative reputation that has hurt the country.[3][4]

The team reached an all-time high of 39th in the FIFA World Rankings in October 2004.

HistoryEdit

Early yearsEdit

As early as 1923, an Iraqi team known as Baghdad XI, controlled by the Baghdad Football Association, started to play matches against British Army teams.[5] The Baghdad FA soon disbanded and it was not until 8 October 1948 that the Iraq Football Association was founded. The Iraq FA joined FIFA in 1950 and on 2 May 1951, Iraq played their first match: a 1–1 draw to a team named Basra XI.[5]

Iraq's first ever official international game came in the opening game of the 1957 Pan Arab Games in Beirut where Iraq drew 3–3 to Morocco with goals from Ammo Baba, Youra Eshaya and Fakhri Mohammed Salman.[5]. One of the members of Iraq’s first national team was Youra Eshaya, who in 1954 became the first Iraqi footballer to play abroad and in Europe for English Football League side Bristol Rovers.

In 1962, Iraq appointed their first foreign manager, Romanian coach Cornel Drăgușin. Iraq won their first trophy in 1964 when they hosted and won the Arab Nations Cup, winning three and drawing one of their four games. The following year, they retained their Arab Nations Cup title, beating Syria 2–1 in the final.[5]

1970sEdit

In 1972, Iraq played at their first ever AFC Asian Cup but failed to win a game in the tournament. In March 1973, Iraq played their first ever FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. They finished second in their group, a point behind Australia, therefore failing to qualify for the next round. In the remaining years of the 1970s, Iraq reached the second round of the Asian Games (1974), lost the Arabian Gulf Cup final (1976), finished fourth at the AFC Asian Cup (1976), finished fourth in the Asian Games (1978) and finally hosted and won the Arabian Gulf Cup (1979).[6] The 1976 Asian Cup would be the last Asian Cup that Iraq appeared in for the next 20 years, as they withdrew from the next four editions.

1980s – First Golden GenerationEdit

The 1980s was arguably Iraq's most successful period in their history. They started the decade off disappointingly, being knocked out in the first round of qualifiers for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. In 1982, they won the gold medal at the 1982 Asian Games. In 1984, Iraq won the Arabian Gulf Cup. The following year, they won the 1985 Arab Nations Cup and also won the gold medal at the 1985 Pan Arab Games.

1986 FIFA World CupEdit

Iraq were seeded into the first round of qualifiers where they faced Qatar and Jordan. Iraq topped Group 1B with 6 points, and advanced to the second round. Iraq faced United Arab Emirates in two legs. Iraq defeated UAE 3–2 in Dubai. Iraq lost with 2–1 to UAE in the second leg. Iraq won 4–4 aggregate on away goals and advanced to the final round. In the final round, Iraq tied Syria 0–0 in Damascus. Iraq defeated Syria 3–1 in the second leg in Taif. Iraq won 3–1 on aggregate and qualified to the 1986 FIFA World Cup

At their first game of the Group B at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Iraq played well against Paraguay, losing narrowly 1–0 despite scoring a goal that was wrongly disallowed by the referee. Iraq recorded their first World Cup goal in the second game, scoring against Belgium in a 1–2 defeat despite having ten men, with Ahmed Radhi scoring a goal for Iraq. Following defeat with Belgium, Iraq were eliminated from the World Cup. Iraq played against hosts Mexico in the third game and lost 1–0.

In the following years, Iraq won the 1988 Arabian Gulf Cup and won the 1988 Arab Nations Cup. Overall, Iraq won nine competitions in the 1980s and played in their only World Cup, leading many to believe that this was the golden era of Iraqi football. In 1989, Iraq competed in qualifying for a berth in the 1990 World Cup finals, but they lost a crucial game against Qatar.

1990s – The Dark EraEdit

Following the Gulf War in 1990, Iraq was banned from participating in the Asian Games and in most Arab competitions, leading them to participate in friendly competitions instead.

In 1993, Iraq participated in qualifiers for the 1994 FIFA World Cup and reached the final round but finished fourth in the group, missing out on a World Cup spot by two points. By drawing their last game with Japan 2–2, they denied the Japanese a place in the finals in a match referred to by the Japanese media as the Agony of Doha.[7]

Iraq participated in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup, their first Asian Cup campaign for 20 years. They reached the quarter-finals but lost to the United Arab Emirates due to a golden goal scored by Abdulrahman Ibrahim. In 1996, Iraq was ranked 139th in the world, which is their worst FIFA ranking in their history.

In 1997, Iraq participated in qualifiers for the 1998 FIFA World Cup but were knocked out at the first round following two defeats to Kazakhstan.

This period is known as 'The Dark Era' as Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam Hussein, abused his control of Iraqi football and tortured players who played poorly, punishing them by sending them to prison, making them bathe in raw sewage and kick concrete balls, and shaving their heads among many other punishments.[8][9]

2000s – Second Golden GenerationEdit

The 2000s was widely considered to be the rebirth and rise of one of Iraq's greatest football generation second only to the 1980s generation.

However, Iraq had a rocky beginning. It played in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup but were knocked out at the quarter-final stage again, this time by Japan in a 4–1 loss. Iraq reached the second round of 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification but lost five of their eight second-round games and therefore failed to make the finals. Iraq won their first ever WAFF Championship in 2002, beating Jordan 3–2 in the final after extra time despite being two goals down.

In 2004, Iraq once again reached the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup before getting knocked down by China. In the same year they were knocked out at the second round of 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers by Uzbekistan.

Iraq were ranked as high as 39th in the World Rankings in October 2004 which is their highest ranking position in their history. The following year, Iraq won the gold medal in the West Asian Games by beating Syria in the final via a penalty shootout. In 2007, Iraq were knocked out at the group stage of the Arabian Gulf Cup. The exit from the Gulf Cup happened in very controversial circumstances as Iraq attempted to make an agreement with Saudi Arabia to draw the final game which would put both teams through to the next round; the Iraq manager Akram Salman told the Iraqi players not to win the game but the Saudi Arabian players were unaware of any agreement and went on to win the game and knock Iraq out of the cup.[10] Akram Salman was sacked and Jorvan Vieira appointed as head coach. Under him, Iraq reached the final of the WAFF Championship but lost 2–1 to Iran.

2007 AFC Asian CupEdit

 
Iraq playing against Australia in Group A of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup; Iraq won the game 3–1 on their way to winning the cup.

In July 2007, Iraq kicked off their 2007 AFC Asian Cup campaign. The squad was made mainly of players that had finished fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games and finished second at the 2006 Asian Games. Vieira only had two months to prepare his team for the tournament, and the team suffered from very poor facilities. The Iraq FA struggled to provide the team with enough kits for the tournament and Iraq had not been able to play any previous games in their own country for security reasons and most of the players had had family members killed in the war.

The team started the tournament with a 1–1 draw against joint-hosts Thailand before producing one of the upsets of the tournament: a 3–1 win over favourites Australia. A draw with Oman followed to put Iraq into the quarter-finals where two goals from Younis Mahmoud against Vietnam put Iraq into the semi-finals for the second time in their history. They produced another big upset by knocking out Asian giants South Korea (who had thrashed Iraq 3–0 in a pre-tournament friendly) in the semis via a penalty shootout in which Noor Sabri made a crucial save. After the game, a suicide bomber killed 30 football fans who were celebrating the semi-final win over South Korea and this almost led to the Iraqi team withdrawing from the final, but they decided to go on in honour of the dead and produced yet another upset by defeating Saudi Arabia 1–0 in the final, a game that they dominated from start to finish and that was won by a Younis Mahmoud header. This tournament win is seen as one of the greatest upsets in international history as a war-torn country became international champions in what is described as one of sport's greatest 'fairytales'. [11][12]

Asian Cup aftermathEdit

Vieira stated during the final that he would resign after the Asian Cup.[13] He was replaced by Egil Olsen in September 2007.[14] Under Olsen, Iraq advanced to the third round, but after a 1–1 draw with China, the FA sacked Olsen and replaced him with Adnan Hamad. [15] Iraq failed to advance to the final round of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as a 1–0 defeat to Qatar saw them finish in third in the group. Following this, the Iraq FA decided to disband the team and sacked Hamad. [16]

Jorvan Vieira was reappointed in September 2008. After a disappointing 2009 Arabian Gulf Cup, Vieira was sacked and replaced by Bora Milutinovic. [17]

2009 FIFA Confederations CupEdit

In 2009, Iraq participated in only their second FIFA tournament ever: the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, which they qualified for by winning the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. They started the tournament with a 0–0 draw with hosts South Africa, before losing 1–0 to UEFA Euro 2008 winners Spain. Iraq drew the last game 0–0 with New Zealand and were knocked out.

On 20 November 2009, the FIFA Emergency Committee suspended the Iraq FA due to government interference;[18] the suspension was lifted on 19 March 2010.[19]

2010s – Ups and downsEdit

 
The Iraqi national team pose ahead of their 2019 AFC Asian Cup match against Iran in Dubai.

Wolfgang Sidka was appointed coach in August 2010 to lead Iraq in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.[20] Iraq reached the quarter finals, as they lost 1–0 to Australia. The match went into extra time with Harry Kewell heading in a goal in the 117th minute just inside the 18-yard box. In the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, Iraq advanced to the third round but Sidka's contract was not renewed and he was succeeded by Zico in August 2011. Iraq topped the group in the third round, winning 5 of 6 games. However, halfway through the fourth round, Iraq only had 5 points and Zico resigned due to unpaid wages.[21]

Hakeem Shaker took over as interim coach and finished as runners-up in both the 2012 WAFF Championship and 2013 Arabian Gulf Cup. In February 2013, Vladimir Petrovic was appointed for the remaining World Cup qualifiers, but lost all three matches and Iraq finished bottom of their group. Petrovic was sacked in September 2013 and Hakeem Shaker was reappointed. [22]

On the last matchday, Iraq qualified for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup by beating China 3–1. However, Iraq finished bottom of the group in the 2014 Arabian Gulf Cup leading to the sacking of Hakeem Shaker and the appointment of Radhi Shenaishil.

Iraq began the 2015 AFC Asian Cup campaign with a 1–0 win over Jordan. In the next match, Iraq faced Japan and lost the match 0–1. Iraq then beat Palestine 2–0 and qualified to knockout stage as the Group D runner-up behind Japan with six points. Iraq defeated Iran in the quarter-finals in penalties, 7–6, after the game ended 3–3 after 120 minutes of play. They faced South Korea in the semi-finals but lost 0–2 and failed to progress to the final. Iraq finished the AFC Asian Cup in fourth place, after losing 2–3 to United Arab Emirates in third place match.

After the tournament, Shenaishil returned to managing Qatar SC and Iraq appointed Akram Salman as manager but he was sacked in June 2015 after losing 4–0 to Japan in a friendly match.

Yahya Alwan was appointed in August 2015. Due to poor performances, Abdul-Ghani Shahad replaced him as interim coach for the final qualifier in March 2016. Shahad led Iraq to qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and the final round. Radhi Shenaishil was appointed to lead Iraq in the final round. After losing five of their first seven games, Iraq were eliminated and Shenaishil was sacked.[23] Basim Qasim was appointed in May 2017 to lead Iraq for the remaining qualifiers. The FA decided not to renew his contract in August 2018.

On 3 September 2018, Srečko Katanec was appointed as head coach on a three-year contract.[24] Under Katanec, Iraq reached the round of 16 of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup as they lost 1–0 to eventual champions Qatar.[25]

2020s – Renewed hopeEdit

Under Katanec, Iraq leads the group in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification, having won three of their five matches including a 2–1 win against Iran.[26]

Iraq continued their great form in the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup, reaching the semifinals by beating Qatar and United Arab Emirates.

Team imageEdit

Kit manufacturerEdit

The Iraqi national football team kit has previously been manufactured by brands such as Adidas, Puma, Nike, Diadora, Jack & Jones, Lotto, Umbro and Peak and its current manufacturer is Givova.[27]

Period Kit manufacturer
1984–1986   Umbro
1986–1994   Adidas
1996   Puma
2000   Patrick
2003–2004   Jako
2004–2006   Jack & Jones
2006   Diadora
2006   Lotto
2007   Adidas
2007   Umbro
2008–2014   Peak
2014   Adidas
2014–2019   Jako
2019–present   Givova

Edit

Unlike most other national teams, Iraq kits usually have the country's flag on them rather than the Football Association's logo, although the FA's logo has appeared on kits before, most recently from 2014–2015. However, in some cases both the flag and the FA's logo have not featured on the kit and have been replaced with other logos. From 1985–1986, the coat of arms of Iraq featured in the centre of the kit, and occasionally only the part of the logo containing the flag was used but with the flag positioned horizontally bearing the name Iraq in capitals.[28] From 2000–2002, Iraq mainly used a logo that featured the vertical black, white and red bands of the Iraq flag underneath the name Iraq written in Arabic in green text. In the 2005 West Asian Games, a logo featuring black and white bands underneath a red semicircle featured on the kit with the three stars of the flag shown in the white band.[29] In the 2007 WAFF Championship and part of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, Iraq reverted to using the logo that they had used from 2000–2002.

RivalriesEdit

Due to geographical location, Iraq maintains strong rivalries with many neighbors.

Iraq's main and traditional rival has been Iran, which is often considered to be the two greatest football teams and the greatest football rivalry in the Middle East and Asia. At the early stage, Iran had proved to be more dominant than Iraq, obtaining an undefeated streak for 30 years from 1964 to 1994. In contemporary era, especially during the reign of Saddam Hussein, the two countries had bad relations and fought the Iran–Iraq War for eight years.[30][31] Despite the rise of Iraqi football successes, Iran has remained dominant over Iraq. Iraqis have considered any matches against Iran is a must-win encounter and treat it differently from any other football matches.[32] Iraq has played 28 matches against Iran with 6 victories, 7 draws, and 15 losses.

Iraq's other rival is Saudi Arabia, and matches between two teams also draw significant fan supports from Iraq. The beginnings of the footballing rivalry between them dates back to the 1970s, but it was only after the 1990s that the great rivalry between two Arab nations truly developed since it was previously overshadowed by Iraq's rivalries with Iran and Kuwait.[33] One of these reasons for the rivalry to develop is due to the bitter Gulf War, where Iraq fought (and lost) against Saudi Arabia over Kuwait, an ally of Saudi Arabia.[34] These encounters have also been marred with various controversies and hostilities, such as the 21st Arabian Gulf Cup hosting rights which Iraq was stripped from hosting and instead moved to Bahrain, a move which was believed by Iraqis as a deliberate act by Saudi Arabia to remove Iraq's host advantage.[34] Before that, Iraq was also banned from hosting home games against Saudi Arabia due to the Gulf War.[34] Iraq has played 39 matches against Saudi Arabia with 17 victories, 11 draws, and 11 losses.

Iraq's rivalry with Kuwait is once considered as the Arab world's greatest football rivalry of all time; dubbed 'The Arabic El Clasico' until being taken by Iraq's rivalry with Saudi Arabia due to Kuwait's decline.[35] The rivalry began in the mid-1970s. Because of the Gulf War, Iraq and Kuwait were in complete avoidance and never met for more than a decade; Iraq has played 35 matches against Kuwait with 15 victories, 10 draws, and 10 losses.

Iraq's other rival happens to be Syria. The rivalry is friendlier and more amicable than Iraq's remaining rivalries, and there is a common sense of solidarity between two countries due to similar conflicts tearing two nations apart.[36]

SupportersEdit

 
Iraqi fans celebrating Iraq winning the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.

Iraq national team supporters are known for chanting "O Victorious Baghdad" during the Iraqi team's matches.

Another famous chant is "the first goal is coming" ("هسه يجي الاول") which is chanted in the beginning of the match. A succeeding chant is "the second goal is coming" ("هسه يجي الثاني"); this is usually chanted repeatedly after Iraq score a goal to motivate the players to score another.

Home matches in IraqEdit

 
Basra International Stadium during the second opening friendly match between Al-Zawraa and Zamalek in 2013.

Since 1980, FIFA imposed bans on six occasions that prevented Iraq from hosting competitive international games.

The first ban was imposed in 1980 after an Olympic qualifying play-off between Iraq and Kuwait in Baghdad, where the match referee was attacked by enraged home fans and members of the Iraqi team after the Malaysian official’s decision to award a match changing penalty to the Kuwaitis that led to Iraq losing 3–2. The ban was lifted in 1982. [37]

Around the same time, the Iran–Iraq War started and the ban was imposed again. Iraq played their qualifying home games at a neutral venue and still qualified for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and three Olympic Games (Moscow, Los Angeles and Seoul). The ban was lifted in 1988, when the war ended.

Due to the Gulf War, FIFA banned Iraq again from 1990 till 1995. Iraq played at home at the 1998 World Cup qualifiers against Pakistan and Kazakhstan for the first time since 1990.

Iraq played the 2002 World Cup qualifiers at home against Iran (first time since the Iraq-Iran War) Bahrain, and Thailand in the Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad. Saudi Arabia refused to play in Iraq because of the tensions with Saddam Hussein.

The Iraq War in 2003 forced Iraq to play their home matches outside the country for security reasons, and so home games were held in Jordan, Iran, Qatar or the UAE.

Iraq resumed playing on home soil on 10 July 2009, winning a friendly 3–0 against Palestine in Erbil. Iraq played the same opponents three days later, in Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad, this time winning 4–0 in front of a crowd of over 50,000. The same month, the AFC Executive Committee approved the Franso Hariri Stadium as venue for international matches and clubs in continental tournaments.[38]

On 23 July 2011, Iraq played a FIFA World Cup qualifier on home ground for the first time since 2001. They played against Yemen in front of a crowd of 20,000 people in the Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil. However, on 23 September 2011, FIFA re-imposed the ban due to fears over security and a breach of safety regulations in the match with Jordan.

Two years later, on 22 March 2013, FIFA lifted the ban on international friendlies in Iraqi stadiums. Four days later, Iraq played their first international friendly match in Baghdad since 2009 against Syria in front of a crowd of over 50,000 people in the Al-Shaab Stadium and won the game 2–1. Two months later, they played another friendly at the Al-Shaab Stadium, this time against Liberia. On 3 July 2013, FIFA re-imposed the ban due to a massive surge in nationwide violence, barely three months after world football's governing body gave Baghdad the go-ahead.

On 9 May 2017, FIFA lifted the ban partially on international friendlies in the cities of Basra, Karbala, and Erbil. Iraq played their first international game in Basra on 1 June 2017, beating Jordan 1–0. After successfully hosting friendlies, on 16 March 2018, FIFA announced the lifting of the ban on competitive matches in the three cities.[39] However, following the outbreak of 2019 Iraqi protests, FIFA once again imposed home matches ban on Iraq.[40]

Competition recordsEdit

  •      Champions       Runners-up       Third place       Fourth place       Semi-finals  
  • *Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shoot-out.

FIFA World CupEdit

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
  1930 to   1970 Did not enter Did not enter
  1974 Did not qualify 6 3 2 1 11 6
  1978 Did not enter Did not enter
  1982 Did not qualify 4 3 0 1 5 2
  1986 Group stage 23rd 3 0 0 3 1 4 10 7 1 2 25 11
  1990 Did not qualify 6 3 2 1 11 5
  1994 13 7 4 2 37 13
  1998 4 2 0 2 14 8
   2002 14 6 3 5 37 15
  2006 6 3 2 1 17 7
  2010 8 3 2 3 11 6
  2014 16 7 3 6 20 12
  2018 16 6 5 5 24 18
  2022 To be determined 5 3 2 0 9 2
Total Best: Group stage 1/21 3 0 0 3 1 4 108 53 26 29 221 105

AFC Asian CupEdit

AFC Asian Cup record AFC Asian Cup qualification record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GF GA GP W D L GF GA
  1956 to   1968 Did not enter Did not enter
  1972 Group stage 6th 3 0 2 1 1 4 6 5 1 0 13 2
  1976 Fourth place 4th 4 1 0 3 3 6 6 5 1 0 14 3
  1980 to   1988 Withdrew Withdrew
  1992 Did not enter Did not enter
  1996 Quarter-finals 6th 4 2 0 2 6 4 2 2 0 0 4 0
  2000 Quarter-finals 7th 4 1 1 2 5 7 3 3 0 0 9 2
  2004 Quarter-finals 8th 4 2 0 2 5 7 6 4 1 1 16 4
     2007 Champions 1st 6 3 3 0 7 2 6 3 2 1 12 8
  2011 Quarter-finals 8th 4 2 0 2 3 3 Qualified as defending champions
  2015 Fourth place 4th 6 2 1 3 8 9 6 3 0 3 7 6
  2019 Round of 16 11th 4 2 1 1 6 3 6 3 3 0 13 6
  2023 To be determined TBD 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 3 2 0 9 2
Total 1 title 9/17 39 15 8 16 44 45 46 31 10 5 97 34

FIFA Confederations CupEdit

FIFA Confederations Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA
  1992 to   1995 Did not enter
  1997 to   2005 Did not qualify
  2009 Group stage 7th 3 0 2 1 0 1
  2013 to   2017 Did not qualify
Total Best: Group stage 1/10 3 0 2 1 0 1

Olympic GamesEdit

Olympic Games record Qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
  1900 to   1956 Did not enter Did not enter
  1960 Did not qualify 4 2 0 2 14 10
  1964 2 0 1 1 0 4
  1968 4 1 1 2 7 5
  1972 5 3 0 2 4 5
  1976 4 2 0 2 6 4
  1980 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 2 1 4 5 5 3 1 1 10 3
  1984 Group stage 14th 3 0 1 2 3 6 8 4 3 1 10 7
  1988 Group stage 10th 3 1 1 1 5 4 8 6 1 1 14 6
  1992 to present See Iraq Olympic Team record See Iraq Olympic Team record
Total Best: Quarter-finals 3/19 10 2 4 4 12 15 40 21 7 12 65 44

Asian GamesEdit

Asian Games record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA
  1951 to   1970
Did not enter
  1974
Round 2
5th
6
3
2
1
6
2
  1978
Fourth place
4th
7
4
1
2
11
4
  1982
Gold medal
1st
6
5
0
1
11
2
  1986
Quarter-finals
6th
5
3
1
1
13
5
  1990 to   1998
Banned due to Gulf War
  2002 to present
See Iraq Olympic Team record
Total 1 title 4/13 24 15 4 5 41 13

Regional competitionsEdit

Friendly tournamentsEdit

Team recordsEdit

Head-to-head recordEdit

Key
  Positive balance
  Neutral balance
  Negative balance

The list shown below shows the Iraq national football team all-time international record against opposing nations.

As of 5 December 2019 counted for the FIFA A-level matches only.

FIFA rankingsEdit

Below is a chart of Iraq's FIFA ranking from 1993 till now.[41]

Recent results and fixturesEdit

  Win   Draw   Loss[42]

The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

2019Edit

10 October 2019 2022 WCQIraq  2–0  Hong KongBasra International Stadium, Basra
19:00 UTC+3
Report Referee: Ammar Al-Jeneibi (United Arab Emirates)
15 October 2019 2022 WCQCambodia  0–4  IraqOlympic Stadium, Phnom Penh
18:30 UTC+7 Report
Attendance: 48,258
Referee: Clifford Daypuyat (Philippines)
14 November 2019 2022 WCQIraq  2–1  IranAmman International Stadium, Amman
16:00 UTC+2
Report
Referee: Hettikamkanamge Perera (Sri Lanka)
19 November 2019 2022 WCQIraq  0–0  BahrainAmman International Stadium, Amman
16:00 UTC+2 Report Attendance: 10,366
Referee: Muhammad Taqi (Singapore)
26 November 2019 24th Arabian Gulf CupQatar  1–2  IraqKhalifa International Stadium, Doha
19:30 (UTC+3)
Report
Referee: Lionel Tschudi (Switzerland)
2 December 2019 24th Arabian Gulf CupYemen  0–0  IraqAbdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Doha
17:30 (UTC+3) Report Referee: Ahmad Al-Ali (Kuwait)
5 December 2019 24th Arabian Gulf CupIraq  2–2 (a.e.t.)
(3–5 p)
  BahrainAbdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Doha
17:30 (UTC+3)
Report
Referee: Ryuji Sato (Japan)
Penalties

2020Edit

13 November 2020 FriendlyIraq  v  OmanTBD
17 November 2020 FriendlyIraq  v  UzbekistanTBD

2021Edit

Coaching staffEdit

 
Srečko Katanec is the manager of Iraq.
Position Name
Head coach   Srečko Katanec
Assistant coach   Vlado Radmanović
  Aleš Čeh
  Rahim Hameed
Goalkeeping coach   Nihad Pejković
Fitness coach   Xavi Pedro
Team manager   Basil Gorgis
Team doctor   Qasim Mohammed

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

  • The following 32 players were called up for the International Friendly
  • Match dates: 13 November 2020
  • Opposition:   Oman
  • Caps and goals correct as of: 5 December 2019, after the match against   Bahrain.
No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Jalal Hassan (1991-05-18) 18 May 1991 (age 29) 52 0   Al-Zawraa
1GK Mohammed Hameed (1993-01-24) 24 January 1993 (age 27) 34 0   Al-Shorta
1GK Fahad Talib (1994-10-21) 21 October 1994 (age 25) 4 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
1GK Ali Kadhim (1997-10-24) 24 October 1997 (age 22) 0 0   Naft Al-Wasat
1GK Mohammed Saleh (1994-05-26) 26 May 1994 (age 26) 0 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
1GK Ahmed Basil (1996-08-19) 19 August 1996 (age 24) 0 0   Al-Shorta

2DF Ahmed Ibrahim (1992-02-25) 25 February 1992 (age 28) 99 4   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
2DF Ali Adnan (1993-09-19) 19 September 1993 (age 27) 73 5   Vancouver Whitecaps
2DF Ali Faez (1994-09-09) 9 September 1994 (age 26) 28 3   Al-Shorta
2DF Saad Natiq (1994-03-19) 19 March 1994 (age 26) 27 0   Al-Shorta
2DF Rebin Sulaka (1992-04-12) 12 April 1992 (age 28) 23 0   Arda Kardzhali
2DF Mustafa Mohammed (1998-01-14) 14 January 1998 (age 22) 9 0   Al-Zawraa
2DF Maitham Jabbar (2000-11-10) 10 November 2000 (age 19) 8 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
2DF Frans Putros (1993-07-14) 14 July 1993 (age 27) 4 0   Hobro
2DF Mohanad Jeahze (1997-04-10) 10 April 1997 (age 23) 0 0   Hammarby IF
2DF Mustafa Maan (1997-01-15) 15 January 1997 (age 23) 0 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
2DF Hassan Raed (2000-09-23) 23 September 2000 (age 20) 0 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya

3MF Humam Tariq (1996-02-10) 10 February 1996 (age 24) 64 3   Ismaily
3MF Amjad Attwan (1997-03-12) 12 March 1997 (age 23) 47 1   Al-Kuwait
3MF Hussein Ali (1996-11-29) 29 November 1996 (age 23) 32 4   Al-Zawraa
3MF Bashar Resan (1996-12-22) 22 December 1996 (age 23) 32 2   Persepolis
3MF Safaa Hadi (1998-10-14) 14 October 1998 (age 21) 27 0   Krylia Sovetov Samara
3MF Ibrahim Bayesh (2000-05-01) 1 May 2000 (age 20) 13 3   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
3MF Mazin Fayyadh (1997-04-02) 2 April 1997 (age 23) 12 1   Al-Shorta
3MF Mohammed Qasim Majid (1996-12-06) 6 December 1996 (age 23) 7 2   Al-Shorta
3MF Mohammed Ridha Jalil (2000-02-17) 17 February 2000 (age 20) 4 0   Al-Zawraa
3MF Sharif Abdul-Kadhim (1996-06-07) 7 June 1996 (age 24) 2 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
3MF Mohammed Mezher (1998-03-24) 24 March 1998 (age 22) 0 0   Al-Shorta

4FW Alaa Abdul-Zahra (captain) (1987-12-22) 22 December 1987 (age 32) 119 16   Al-Zawraa
4FW Aymen Hussein (1996-03-22) 22 March 1996 (age 24) 30 2   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
4FW Mohanad Ali (2000-06-20) 20 June 2000 (age 20) 28 14   Al-Sailiya
4FW Alaa Abbas (1997-07-27) 27 July 1997 (age 23) 18 3   Al-Kuwait
4FW Mohammed Dawood (2000-11-22) 22 November 2000 (age 19) 5 0   Al-Naft
4FW Mohammed Qasim Nassif (1997-08-25) 25 August 1997 (age 23) 0 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya

Recent call-upsEdit

The following players have also been called up to the Iraq squad within the last 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up

DF Dhurgham Ismail SUS (1994-05-24) 24 May 1994 (age 26) 52 3   Al-Zawraa v.   Bahrain, 5 December 2019
DF Alaa Mhawi SUS (1996-06-03) 3 June 1996 (age 24) 39 0   Al-Shorta v.   Bahrain, 5 December 2019

MF Hassan Hamoud 2 0   Naft Maysan v.   Bahrain, 5 December 2019
MF Ahmed Jalal (1998-03-17) 17 March 1998 (age 22) 3 0   Al-Shorta v.   Cambodia, 15 October 2019
MF Jiloan Hamad (1990-11-06) 6 November 1990 (age 29) 1 0   Gorica v.   Cambodia, 15 October 2019

SUS Player suspended
INJ Player injured
RET Player retired from the national team
WD Player withdrew for non-injury related reasons

Previous squadsEdit

RecordsEdit

Most-capped playersEdit

 
Younis Mahmoud is Iraq's all-time most capped player, having played in 148 official matches.
As of 5 December 2019[43]
Players in bold are still available for selection.
# Name Caps Goals First cap Latest cap
1 Younis Mahmoud 148 57 19 July 2002 29 March 2016
2 Hussein Saeed 137 78 5 September 1976 3 March 1990
3 Ahmed Radhi 121 62 21 February 1982 20 June 1997
Adnan Dirjal 8 11 December 1978 3 March 1990
5 Alaa Abdul-Zahra 119 16 8 June 2007 5 December 2019
6 Hawar Mulla Mohammed 113 20 31 August 2001 12 June 2012
Nashat Akram 17 5 October 2001 4 June 2013
Ali Rehema 2 8 June 2005 29 March 2016
9 Mahdi Karim 110 11 12 October 2001 28 February 2018
10 Raad Hammoudi 104 0 8 February 1976 21 February 1987

All-time top goalscorersEdit

 
Hussein Saeed is Iraq's all-time leading goalscorer, having scored 78 goals in 137 official matches.
As of 5 December 2019[43]
Players in bold are still available for selection
# Name Career Goals Caps Goal ratio
1 Hussein Saeed 1976–1990 78 137 0.57
2 Ahmed Radhi 1982–1997 62 121 0.51
3 Younis Mahmoud 2002–2016 57 148 0.38
4 Ali Kadhim 1970–1980 35 82 0.43
5 Falah Hassan 1970–1986 29 103 0.28
6 Emad Mohammed 2001–2012 27 103 0.26
7 Razzaq Farhan 1998–2007 25 62 0.40
8 Laith Hussein 1986–2002 21 80 0.26
9 Hawar Mulla Mohammed 2001–2012 20 113 0.18
10 Husham Mohammed 1998–2004 19 43 0.44

HonoursEdit

SummaryEdit

Event Gold Silver Bronze Total
AFC Asian Cup 1 0 0 1
Asian Games[a] 1 0 0 1
WAFF Championship 1 3 2 6
West Asian Games 1 0 0 1
Arab Nations Cup 4 0 1 5
Arabian Gulf Cup 3 2 0 5
Pan Arab Games 1 1 0 2
Total 12 6 3 21
  1. ^ The Asian Games has been part of the Olympic Team's record since 2002.
Iraq's starting line-up against Saudi Arabia in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup Final, a match they won 1–0.

ContinentalEdit

RegionalEdit

Minor tournamentsEdit

  • International Friendship Championship
  • Al-Quds Cup
    • Champions: 2018 (shared)
  • UAE International Cup
  • Peace Cup
    • Champions: 2003
  • International Friendship Tournament
    • Champions: 1999
  • Nehru Cup
  • Merdeka Tournament
    • Champions: 1981, 1995
  • Peace and Friendship Cup
  • Merlion Cup
  • Tripoli Fair Tournament
    • Champions: 1967

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 17 September 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 16 September 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  3. ^ https://www.arabnews.com/node/1259086/sports
  4. ^ https://iraqfootball.me/2020/05/08/5-things-we-miss-most-from-watching-the-iraq-national-football-team/
  5. ^ a b c d Mubarak, Hassanin (21 March 2013). "Iraqi Football History". IraqSport.
  6. ^ "Trophy Cabinet".
  7. ^ "28 October 1993 - The Agony Of Doha". This Day in Football History. 28 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Footballers who paid the penalty for failure". The Guardian. 19 April 2003.
  9. ^ "Saddam's son tortured defeated footballers - Telegraph". 30 November 2017. Archived from the original on 30 November 2017.
  10. ^ Mubarak, Hassanin (9 May 2013). "The game that shook a nation: 2007 Gulf Cup". Iraq Sport.
  11. ^ "Iraq in historic Asian Cup win". Al-Jazeera. 29 July 2007.
  12. ^ "Il calcio riporta la festa in Iraq Al Maliki: "È il trionfo dell'impossibile"". repubblica.it (in Italian). 29 July 2007.
  13. ^ http://edition.cnn.com/2007/SPORT/football/07/28/asia.iraq.reut/
  14. ^ https://www.skysports.com/football/news/12010/2738539/olsen-takes-iraq-job
  15. ^ https://www.thedailystar.net/news-detail-25176
  16. ^ https://www.breakingnews.ie/sport/soccer/iraq-sack-coach-hamad-367505.html
  17. ^ https://www.thenational.ae/sport/milutinovic-is-iraq-s-new-cup-coach-1.486037
  18. ^ "Iraqi Football Association suspended". FIFA.com. 20 November 2009.
  19. ^ "FIFA lifts suspension on Iraq". FourFourTwo. 19 March 2010.
  20. ^ https://www.goal.com/en/news/14/asia/2010/07/12/2022583/iraq-set-to-appoint-wolfgang-sidka-as-new-coach-report
  21. ^ http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/zico-resigns-as-iraq-national-team-coach-35693
  22. ^ http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/6/55/81300/Sports/World/Iraq-sack-Serbian-coach-Petrovic.aspx
  23. ^ "Iraq coach Shenaishil sacked after World Cup failure". Reuters.com.
  24. ^ "Katanec excited to lead Iraq". the-afc.com. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  25. ^ http://www.the-afc.com/asiancup/news/round-of-16-qatar-1-0-iraq
  26. ^ https://www.the-afc.com/competitions/afc-asian-cup/news/md5-group-c-iraq-2-1-ir-iran
  27. ^ "JAKO Blog – JAKO-Team im Irak". Jako.de. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  28. ^ "1986 World Cup". Iraqi-Football.com.
  29. ^ "West Asian Games 2005". Iraqi-Football.com.
  30. ^ Montague, James (13 January 2011). "Pitch Warfare: Iran face Iraq in soccer grudge match". CNN. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  31. ^ "Iran-Iraq classic rivalry". Iran Daily (4924). 5 November 2014. p. 11.
  32. ^ https://www.france24.com/en/20190115-rivalry-revenge-iran-face-iraq-asian-cup
  33. ^ https://socceriraq.net/2018/02/27/match-preview-iraq-vs-saudi-arabia/
  34. ^ a b c https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1016400/iraq-to-withdraw-from-gulf-cup-of-nations-in-protest-at-host-city-switch
  35. ^ Ali Khaled. "Storied Gulf Cup rivalry between Iraq and Kuwait survives war".
  36. ^ https://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/26/world/meast/iraq-syria-soccer/index.html
  37. ^ "Lifting of FIFA ban could be the start of a new era for Iraq". ahdaaf.me.
  38. ^ AFC green-light to Arbil as venue Archived 19 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ "AFC president welcomes FIFA decision to lift Iraq ban". the-afc.com.
  40. ^ https://www.thebaghdadpost.com/en/Story/44583/Iraq-cannot-host-World-Cup-Qualifiers-due-to-violent-protests-FIFA
  41. ^ FIFA.com. "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking - Associations - Iraq - Men's". FIFA.com. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  42. ^ "Results and Fixtures". FIFA.com.
  43. ^ a b RSSSF (Hassanin Mubarak) (19 May 2016). "Iraq – Record International Players". rsssf.com. Retrieved 25 July 2016.

External linksEdit