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)Lions of Mesopotamia
(Usood Al-Rafidain)
AssociationIraq Football Association (IFA)
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationWAFF (West Asia)
Head coachDick Advocaat
CaptainAlaa Abdul-Zahra
Most capsYounis Mahmoud (148)
Top scorerHussein Saeed (78)
Home stadiumBasra International Stadium
FIFA codeIRQ
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 72 Decrease 2 (16 September 2021)[1]
Highest39 (6 October 2004)
Lowest139 (3 July 1996)
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)
FIFA Confederations Cup
Appearances1 (first in 2009)
Best resultGroup stage (2009)

Iraq are one of the more successful national teams in Asia, having made one FIFA World Cup appearance in 1986, losing their three games to Paraguay, Belgium and Mexico. They are one of eight AFC nations to have won the AFC Asian Cup, claiming the title in 2007 in spite of difficult conditions and limited preparation. Iraq defeated some of the favourites in the competition including Australia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. This qualified them for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup where they earned two points in the group stage, and they later finished fourth at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Iraq's team is famous across the continent, and is known for its passionate football fans. The national team is also seen as a symbol of hope and unity for Iraqi people.[3] The team reached an all-time high of 39th in the FIFA World Rankings in October 2004.

HistoryEdit

Early yearsEdit

 
The Iraqi national football team in 1951; they played two games in the Turkish cities of İzmir and Ankara.

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.[4] 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][4]

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 (both from Iraq's Assyrian minority) and Fakhri Mohammed Salman.[6][4] 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 won the Arab Cup, winning three and drawing one of their four games. In the following edition, they retained their Arab Cup title, beating Syria 2–1 in the final in Baghdad.[4]

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).[7] 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 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 controversially 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. Iraq played against hosts Mexico in the third game, losing 1–0 and being eliminated from the World Cup.

In the following years, Iraq won the 1988 Arabian Gulf Cup and won the 1988 Arab 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.[8]

Iraq participated in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup, their first Asian Cup campaign for 20 years of withdrawing from the previous four. 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 due to inactivity after withdrawing from several tournaments.

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.[9][10]

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 out 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.[11] 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 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 manages to knock out one of the best Asian teams, South Korea 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 succeeded in doing that after 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'.[12][13]

Asian Cup aftermathEdit

Vieira stated during the final that he would resign after the Asian Cup.[14] He was replaced by Egil Olsen in September 2007.[15] Under Olsen, Iraq advanced to the third round of World Cup qualifiers, but after a 1–1 draw with China, the FA sacked Olsen and replaced him with Adnan Hamad.[16] 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.[17]

Jorvan Vieira was reappointed in September 2008. After a disappointing 2009 Arabian Gulf Cup, Vieira was sacked and replaced by Bora Milutinovic.[18]

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;[19] the suspension was lifted on 19 March 2010.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22]

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 Petrović was appointed for the remaining World Cup qualifiers, but lost all three matches and Iraq finished bottom of their group. Petrović was sacked in September 2013 and Hakeem Shaker was reappointed.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] Under Katanec, Iraq reached the round of 16 of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup as they lost 1–0 to eventual champions Qatar.[26]

2020s – Renewed hopeEdit

Under Katanec, Iraq reached the third round of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification with five wins from eight matches including a 2–1 victory against Iran.[27] Iraq also showed great form in the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup, reaching the semi-finals by beating Qatar and United Arab Emirates. Iraq went 19 consecutive matches without losing between 2019 and 2021. Katanec officially departed in July 2021 after six months of unpaid wages and filed a complaint with FIFA.[28]

On 31 July 2021, Dutchman Dick Advocaat was appointed head coach of Iraq. [29]

Team imageEdit

NicknameEdit

 
Lion in ceramic tile from the Ishtar Gate in Babylon.

The Iraqi team is commonly known as Usood Al-Rafidain (Arabic: أسود الرافدين‎), meaning Lions of Mesopotamia. In ancient Mesopotamia, the Babylonian lion was a symbol of power, impetuosity, ferocity, prestige and dominance.[30] This is reflected in the sculpted lions in Babylon, where the processional path is ornamented with ceramic tile bas-reliefs representing a prestigious lion from the time of Nebuchadnezzar II. This kind of representation aimed to glorify the king, master of the beasts, and also represent the defeat of the enemy.[31] Moreover, the Chaldean royal inscriptions depict the king as a ferocious lion to whom nothing can be resisted.[32][33][34] The presence of lions in ancient Iraqi civilization was based on the belief, or desire, that the animals represented would bring with them the virtues they symbolized, so that they could be transmitted to the owners.[35]

Kit manufacturerEdit

The Iraqi national football team kit has previously been manufactured by brands such as Adidas, Puma, Nike, Diadora, Jack & Jones, Lotto, Peak and Givova and its current manufacturer is Umbro.[36][37]

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
2019–2020   Givova
2020–   Umbro

Edit

Iraq kits throughout history have usually featured the flag of Iraq on them, although the coat of arms of Iraq and the Iraq Football Association logo have both appeared on kits in the past. The national team has occasionally had its own unique logo, the first of which was in 1983. This logo was based on the Iraq flag, with Iraqi written at the top of the crest.[38] From 2000 to 2002, the national team's logo featured a vertical flag with the name Iraq above in green Arabic text. In the 2005 West Asian Games, the team wore a new logo with the red band of the flag appearing in a large semi-circle shape,[39] and in 2007, Iraq briefly reverted to using the logo that they had used from 2000 to 2002. On 23 October 2020, the national team's current logo was revealed, and a star features above the crest to commemorate the nation's 2007 AFC Asian Cup victory.[40]

RivalriesEdit

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

Iraq's main and traditional rival has been Iran, and they are often considered to be two of the greatest football teams in the Middle East and Asia with one of the greatest rivalries. At the early stage, Iran had proved to be more dominant than Iraq, remaining undefeated from 1964 until 1993. In the contemporary era, especially during the reign of Saddam Hussein, the two countries had bad relations and fought the Iran–Iraq War for eight years.[41][42] Iraqis have considered any matches against Iran as a must-win encounter and are known to treat it differently from any other football matches.[43] Iraq has played 29 matches against Iran with 6 victories, 7 draws, and 16 losses.

Iraq's other rival is Saudi Arabia, and matches between the two teams also draw significant attention from Iraqi fans, with Iraq and Saudi Arabia being recognised as the two most successful Arab teams in Asia. The beginnings of the footballing rivalry between them dates back to the 1970s, but it was only after the 1990s that the rivalry between the two Arab nations truly developed since it was previously overshadowed by Iraq's rivalries with Iran and Kuwait.[44] One of these reasons for the rivalry to develop is due to the bitter Gulf War, where Iraq fought against Saudi Arabia over Kuwait, an ally of Saudi Arabia.[45] These encounters have also been marred with various controversies and hostilities, such as the 21st Arabian Gulf Cup hosting rights, where Iraq was stripped from hosting with the tournament instead being moved to Bahrain, a move which was believed by Iraqis as a deliberate act by Saudi Arabia to remove Iraq's home advantage.[45] Before that, Iraq was also banned from hosting home games against Saudi Arabia due to the Gulf War.[45] Iraq has played 39 matches against Saudi Arabia with 17 victories, 11 draws, and 11 losses.

Past rivalryEdit

Iraq's rivalry with Kuwait was once considered as the Arab world's greatest football rivalry of all-time; dubbed 'The Arabic El Clasico' until being taken over by Iraq's rivalry with Saudi Arabia due to Kuwait's decline.[46] 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 15 years until 2005. Iraq has played 36 matches against Kuwait with 16 victories, 10 draws, and 10 losses.

SupportersEdit

 
Iraqi fans celebrating Iraq winning the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.

Iraq national team supporters are known for chanting "O Victorious Baghdad" ("منصورة يا بغداد") or "With our souls and our blood, we will redeem you, O Iraq" ("بالروح بالدم نفديك يا عراق") during the Iraqi team's matches.[47]

Another famous chant is "the first goal is coming" ("هسه يجي الاول") which is chanted in the beginning of the match.[48] 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.[49]

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.[50]

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.[51] However, following the outbreak of 2019 Iraqi protests, FIFA once again imposed home matches ban on Iraq.[52]

On 27 January 2021, Iraq hosted a friendly match against Kuwait in Basra for the first time since 15 October 1989.[53][54]

Recent results and fixturesEdit

  Win   Draw   Loss[55]

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

2021Edit

12 January 2021 Friendly United Arab Emirates   0–0   Iraq Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Report Stadium: Zabeel
Attendance: 0
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (Oman)
27 January 2021 Friendly Iraq   2–1   Kuwait Basra, Iraq
Dawood   79'
Hussein   89' (pen.)
Stadium: Basra International Stadium
Attendance: 1000
Referee: Salman Ahmed Falahi (Qatar)
29 March 2021 Friendly Uzbekistan   0–1   Iraq Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Karim   56' Stadium: Milliy Stadium
Referee: Nurzat Askat Uulu (Kyrgyzstan)
24 May 2021 Friendly Iraq   0–0   Tajikistan Basra, Iraq
Stadium: Al-Fayhaa Stadium
Referee: Ismaeel Habib Ali (Bahrain)
29 May 2021 Friendly Iraq   6–2     Nepal Basra, Iraq
Stadium: Al-Fayhaa Stadium
Referee: Saad Al-Fadhli (Kuwait)
7 June 2021 2022 WCQ Iraq   4–1   Cambodia Arad, Bahrain
17:30 UTC+3
Report
Stadium: Al Muharraq Stadium
Referee: Yaqoob Said Abdul Baqi (Oman)
11 June 2021 2022 WCQ Hong Kong   0–1   Iraq Arad, Bahrain
19:30 UTC+3 Report
Stadium: Al Muharraq Stadium
Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura (Japan)
15 June 2021 2022 WCQ Iran   1–0   Iraq Arad, Bahrain
19:30 UTC+3
Report Stadium: Al Muharraq Stadium
Referee: Ilgiz Tantashev (Uzbekistan)
2 September 2021 2022 WCQ South Korea   0–0   Iraq Seoul, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Seoul World Cup Stadium
Attendance: 0 (Match behind closed doors)
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)
7 September 2021 2022 WCQ Iraq   0–3   Iran Doha, Qatar
21:00 UTC+3 Report
Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium
Attendance: 0 (Match behind closed doors)
Referee: Ma Ning (China)
7 October 2021 2022 WCQ Iraq   v   Lebanon TBD
12 October 2021 2022 WCQ United Arab Emirates   v   Iraq Dubai, UAE
Stadium: Zabeel Stadium
11 November 2021 2022 WCQ Iraq   v   Syria TBD
16 November 2021 2022 WCQ Iraq   v   South Korea TBD
30 November 2021 FIFA Arab Cup Iraq   v   Oman TBD, Qatar
3 December 2021 FIFA Arab Cup Iraq   v   Bahrain TBD, Qatar
6 December 2021 FIFA Arab Cup Qatar   v   Iraq TBD, Qatar

2022Edit

27 January 2022 2022 WCQ Iran   v   Iraq Tehran, Iran
Stadium: Azadi Stadium
1 February 2022 2022 WCQ Lebanon   v   Iraq Sidon, Lebanon
Stadium: Saida International Stadium
24 March 2022 2022 WCQ Iraq   v   United Arab Emirates TBD
29 March 2022 2022 WCQ Syria   v   Iraq Amman, Jordan
Stadium: King Abdullah II Stadium

Coaching staffEdit

As of August 2021.[56][57]

Position Name
Head coach   Dick Advocaat
Assistant coach(es)   Cor Pot
  Željko Petrović
  Rahim Hameed
Goalkeeping coach   Ahmed Jassim
Head of delegation   Ahmed Kocher
Fitness coach   Vladimir Krunic
Team Analyst   Ali Al-Naimi
Team doctor   Qassim Shakir
Team manager   Basil Gorgis

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Fahad Talib (1994-10-21) 21 October 1994 (age 26) 7 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
12 1GK Mohammed Saleh (1995-06-12) 12 June 1995 (age 26) 0 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
20 1GK Ahmed Basil (1996-08-19) 19 August 1996 (age 25) 0 0   Al-Shorta

2 2DF Ahmed Ibrahim (vice-captain) (1992-02-25) 25 February 1992 (age 29) 109 4   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
2DF Ali Adnan (1993-12-19) 19 December 1993 (age 27) 81 7 Unattached
15 2DF Dhurgham Ismail (1994-05-24) 24 May 1994 (age 27) 60 3   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
17 2DF Alaa Mhawi (1996-06-03) 3 June 1996 (age 25) 46 0   Al-Zawraa
5 2DF Ali Faez (1994-09-09) 9 September 1994 (age 27) 34 3   Al-Qadsia
2DF Saad Natiq (1994-03-19) 19 March 1994 (age 27) 31 0   Al-Shorta
23 2DF Maitham Jabbar (2000-11-10) 10 November 2000 (age 20) 15 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
3 2DF Frans Putros (1993-07-14) 14 July 1993 (age 28) 5 0   Viborg FF
4 2DF Karrar Amer (1994-10-16) 16 October 1994 (age 26) 0 0   Al-Shorta

11 3MF Humam Tariq (1996-02-10) 10 February 1996 (age 25) 74 3   Al-Ahly
14 3MF Amjad Attwan (1997-03-12) 12 March 1997 (age 24) 54 1   Al-Shamal
13 3MF Bashar Resan (1996-12-22) 22 December 1996 (age 24) 42 3   Qatar SC
7 3MF Justin Meram (1988-12-04) 4 December 1988 (age 32) 36 4   Real Salt Lake
6 3MF Safaa Hadi (1998-10-14) 14 October 1998 (age 22) 35 1   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
8 3MF Ibrahim Bayesh (2000-05-01) 1 May 2000 (age 21) 21 3   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
19 3MF Mohammed Qasim (1996-12-06) 6 December 1996 (age 24) 16 2   Al-Shorta
22 3MF Sajad Jassim (1996-07-01) 1 July 1996 (age 25) 3 1   Naft Al-Wasat
16 3MF Amir Al-Ammari (1997-07-27) 27 July 1997 (age 24) 2 0   Halmstads BK

10 4FW Alaa Abdul-Zahra (captain) (1987-12-22) 22 December 1987 (age 33) 124 17   Al-Shorta
9 4FW Ayman Hussein (1996-03-22) 22 March 1996 (age 25) 40 5   Umm Salal
18 4FW Mohanad Ali (2000-06-20) 20 June 2000 (age 21) 37 17   Aris Thessaloniki
21 4FW Sherko Karim (1996-05-25) 25 May 1996 (age 25) 7 1   Erbil

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


GK Jalal Hassan (1991-05-18) 18 May 1991 (age 30) 59 0   Al-Zawraa v.   Iran, 15 June 2021 INJ
GK Mohammed Hameed (1993-01-24) 24 January 1993 (age 28) 36 0   Al-Naft v.   Kuwait, 27 January 2021 INJ

DF Mustafa Mohammed (1998-01-14) 14 January 1998 (age 23) 14 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya v.   Iran, 15 June 2021
DF Mustafa Nadhim (1993-09-23) 23 September 1993 (age 28) 29 3   Al-Diwaniya v.     Nepal, 29 May 2021
DF Faisal Jassim (1991-10-01) 1 October 1991 (age 29) 6 0   Al-Shorta v.     Nepal, 29 May 2021
DF Mohammed Abdul-Zahra (1989-10-14) 14 October 1989 (age 31) 2 1   Al-Najaf v.     Nepal, 29 May 2021
DF Hassan Raed (2000-09-23) 23 September 2000 (age 21) 3 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya v.   Uzbekistan, 29 March 2021
DF Mustafa Maan (1997-01-15) 15 January 1997 (age 24) 1 0   Al-Shorta v.   Uzbekistan, 29 March 2021
DF Rebin Sulaka (1992-04-12) 12 April 1992 (age 29) 24 0   Buriram United v.   United Arab Emirates, 12 January 2021 INJ

MF Hussein Ali (1996-11-29) 29 November 1996 (age 24) 39 4   CS Sfaxien v.   Iran, 15 June 2021
MF Ali Husni (1994-05-23) 23 May 1994 (age 27) 27 3   Al-Shorta v.   Iran, 15 June 2021
MF Mohammed Ridha Jalil (2000-02-17) 17 February 2000 (age 21) 6 0   Al-Zawraa v.     Nepal, 29 May 2021
MF Bassam Shakir (2000-05-17) 17 May 2000 (age 21) 2 0   Al-Shorta v.     Nepal, 29 May 2021
MF Sharif Abdul-Kadhim (1996-06-07) 7 June 1996 (age 25) 2 0   Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya v.     Nepal, 29 May 2021
MF Ahmed Abdul-Hussein (1997-10-22) 22 October 1997 (age 23) 2 0   Al-Najaf v.     Nepal, 29 May 2021
MF Mazin Fayyadh (1997-04-02) 2 April 1997 (age 24) 13 1   Al-Zawraa v.   Kuwait, 27 January 2021
MF Mahmoud Khalil (1995-01-12) 12 January 1995 (age 26) 1 0   Naft Al-Wasat v.   United Arab Emirates, 12 January 2021
MF Mohammed Mezher (1998-03-24) 24 March 1998 (age 23) 2 0   Al-Shorta v.   Uzbekistan, 17 November 2020 INJ

FW Mohammed Dawood (2000-11-22) 22 November 2000 (age 20) 8 1   Al-Shorta v.   Iran, 15 June 2021 INJ
FW Mohannad Abdul-Raheem (1993-09-22) 22 September 1993 (age 28) 48 11   Naft Al-Wasat v.     Nepal, 29 May 2021
FW Murad Mohammed (1997-04-01) 1 April 1997 (age 24) 1 0   Naft Al-Wasat v.   Kuwait, 27 January 2021

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

Player recordsEdit

As of 7 September 2021[58]
Players in bold are still active with Iraq.

Most appearancesEdit

 
Younis Mahmoud is Iraq's all-time most capped player, having played in 148 official matches.
Rank 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 Alaa Abdul-Zahra 124 17 8 June 2007 7 September 2021
4 Ahmed Radhi 121 62 21 February 1982 20 June 1997
Adnan Dirjal 121 8 11 December 1978 3 March 1990
6 Hawar Mulla Mohammed 113 20 31 August 2001 12 June 2012
Nashat Akram 113 17 5 October 2001 4 June 2013
Ali Rehema 113 2 8 June 2005 29 March 2016
9 Mahdi Karim 110 11 12 October 2001 28 February 2018
10 Ahmed Ibrahim 109 4 11 November 2010 7 September 2021

Top goalscorersEdit

 
Hussein Saeed is Iraq's all-time leading goalscorer, having scored 78 goals in 137 official matches.
Rank Player Goals Caps Ratio Career
1 Hussein Saeed 78 137 0.57 1976–1990
2 Ahmed Radhi 62 121 0.51 1982–1997
3 Younis Mahmoud 57 148 0.39 2002–2016
4 Ali Kadhim 35 82 0.43 1970–1980
5 Falah Hassan 29 103 0.28 1970–1986
6 Emad Mohammed 27 103 0.26 2001–2012
7 Razzaq Farhan 25 62 0.4 1998–2007
8 Laith Hussein 21 80 0.26 1986–2002
9 Hawar Mulla Mohammed 20 113 0.18 2001–2012
10 Husham Mohammed 19 43 0.44 1998–2004

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 Squad 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 Squad 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 10 5 3 2 14 7
Total Best: Group stage 1/21 3 0 0 3 1 4 113 55 27 31 226 110

AFC Asian CupEdit

AFC Asian Cup record AFC Asian Cup qualification record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GF GA Squad GP W D L GF GA
  1956 to   1968 Not an AFC member Not an AFC member
  1972 Group stage 6th 3 0 2 1 1 4 Squad 6 5 1 0 13 2
  1976 Fourth place 4th 4 1 0 3 3 6 Squad 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 Squad 2 2 0 0 4 0
  2000 Quarter-finals 7th 4 1 1 2 5 7 Squad 3 3 0 0 9 2
  2004 Quarter-finals 8th 4 2 0 2 5 7 Squad 6 4 1 1 16 4
     2007 Champions 1st 6 3 3 0 7 2 Squad 6 3 2 1 12 8
  2011 Quarter-finals 8th 4 2 0 2 3 3 Squad Qualified as defending champions
  2015 Fourth place 4th 6 2 1 3 8 9 Squad 6 3 0 3 7 6
  2019 Round of 16 11th 4 2 1 1 6 3 Squad 6 3 3 0 13 6
  2023 Qualified TBD 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 5 2 1 14 4
Total 1 title 9/17 39 15 8 16 44 45 49 33 10 6 102 36

FIFA Confederations CupEdit

FIFA Confederations Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA Squad
  1992 to   1995 Did not enter
  1997 to   2005 Did not qualify
  2009 Group stage 7th 3 0 2 1 0 1 Squad
  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 Squad 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 Squad 5 3 1 1 10 3
  1984 Group stage 14th 3 0 1 2 3 6 Squad 8 4 3 1 10 7
  1988 Group stage 10th 3 1 1 1 5 4 Squad 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 Squad
  1951 to   1970 Did not enter
  1974 Round 2 5th 6 3 2 1 6 2 Squad
  1978 Fourth place 4th 7 4 1 2 11 4 Squad
  1982 Gold medal 1st 6 5 0 1 11 2 Squad
  1986 Quarter-finals 6th 5 3 1 1 13 5 Squad
  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 07 Sep 2021 after match against   Iran

FIFA rankingsEdit

Below is a chart of Iraq's FIFA ranking from 1993 till now.[59]

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 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

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit