Iraq national football team

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Iraq
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Lions of Mesopotamia
Usood Al-Rafidain (اسود الرافدين)
AssociationIraq Football Association
Sub-confederationWAFF (West Asia)
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Head coachHakeem Shaker
Asst coachKarim Salman
CaptainYounis Mahmoud
Most capsHussein Saeed (126)
Top scorerHussein Saeed (61)
Home stadiumBasra Sports City
FIFA codeIRQ
FIFA ranking109 Decrease -6
Highest FIFA ranking39 (October 2004)
Lowest FIFA ranking139 (July 1996)
Elo ranking83
Highest Elo ranking24 (December 1982)
Lowest Elo ranking86 (February 2006)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Morocco 3–3 Iraq Iraq
(Beirut, Lebanon; October 19, 1957)
Biggest win
Iraq Iraq 10–1 Bahrain 
(Baghdad, Iraq; April 5, 1966)
Biggest defeat
 Brazil 6–0 Iraq Iraq
(Malmö, Sweden; October 11, 2012)
 Chile 6–0 Iraq Iraq
(Brøndby, Denmark; August 14, 2013)
World Cup
Appearances1 (First in 1986)
Best resultRound 1, 1986
Asian Cup
Appearances7 (First in 1972)
Best resultRunners-up Champions, 2007
Confederations Cup
Appearances1 (First in 2009)
Best resultRound 1, 2009
 
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Iraq
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Lions of Mesopotamia
Usood Al-Rafidain (اسود الرافدين)
AssociationIraq Football Association
Sub-confederationWAFF (West Asia)
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Head coachHakeem Shaker
Asst coachKarim Salman
CaptainYounis Mahmoud
Most capsHussein Saeed (126)
Top scorerHussein Saeed (61)
Home stadiumBasra Sports City
FIFA codeIRQ
FIFA ranking109 Decrease -6
Highest FIFA ranking39 (October 2004)
Lowest FIFA ranking139 (July 1996)
Elo ranking83
Highest Elo ranking24 (December 1982)
Lowest Elo ranking86 (February 2006)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Morocco 3–3 Iraq Iraq
(Beirut, Lebanon; October 19, 1957)
Biggest win
Iraq Iraq 10–1 Bahrain 
(Baghdad, Iraq; April 5, 1966)
Biggest defeat
 Brazil 6–0 Iraq Iraq
(Malmö, Sweden; October 11, 2012)
 Chile 6–0 Iraq Iraq
(Brøndby, Denmark; August 14, 2013)
World Cup
Appearances1 (First in 1986)
Best resultRound 1, 1986
Asian Cup
Appearances7 (First in 1972)
Best resultRunners-up Champions, 2007
Confederations Cup
Appearances1 (First in 2009)
Best resultRound 1, 2009

The Iraqi national football team (Arabic: منتخب العراق لكرة القدم‎) represents Iraq in international football since 1948 and It is governed by the Iraq Football Association (IFA). The Iraqi Football Association was founded in 1948 and has been a member of FIFA since 1950, the Asian Football Confederation since 1970, and the sub-confederation regional body West Asian Football Federation since 2000. Iraq also is part of the Union of Arab Football Associations and has been a member since 1974. The Iraqi team is commonly known as (Usood Al-Rafidain, Arabic: اسود الرافدين‎) which literally meaning Lions of Mesopotamia.

Iraq is one of the most successful national teams in the Arab League, having a record won of a total of four Arab Nations Cup (1964, 1966, 1985, 1988). On the Asian level Iraq is one of the powerhouses having won the AFC Asian Cup once (2007), the Gold Medal of the Asian Games (1982), Three Gulf Cups of Nations (1979, 1984, 1988), and West Asia Championship (2002).

Iraq have been awarded the AFC National Team of the Year award two times (2003 and 2007), being the only team from West Asia to win this award.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The Iraq national football team's first international match was played in 1957 in Lebanon where the team tied Morocco 3-3. The first FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Iraq took part in was the 1974 qualifiers.

Iraqi football reached a peak in the 1970s and 1980s – Iraq qualified for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and 3 times for the Olympic Games in Moscow, Los Angeles and Seoul. Iraq also won the 1982 Asian Games, the Arab Nations Cup 4 times in a row, the Gulf Cup of Nations 3 times, and the 1985 Pan Arab Games fielding a B team. Iraq finished in 4th place in the 1976 AFC Asian Cup – the last Asian Cup Iraq would participate in until 1996.

1986 FIFA World Cup[edit]

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. Iraq recorded their first World Cup goal in the second game, scoring against Belgium 1–2, with Ahmed Radhi scoring a goal for Iraq. Following defeat with Belgium, Iraq were eliminated from the World Cup. Iraq played against Mexico in the third game.

The Dark Era (1990-99)[edit]

During the rule of the government of Saddam Hussein, Saddam's son, Uday Hussein, was in charge of the Iraqi Olympic Committee and, by extension, the national football team. Under Uday's leadership, motivational lectures to the team included threats to cut off players' legs, while missing practice sessions would lead to a term in prison. A loss brought flogging with electric cable, or a bath in raw sewage. After the Gulf War, Iraq was banned from participating in the Asian Games and in most Arab competitions. In 1996 Iraq was ranked 139th in the world, the worst FIFA ranking in Iraqi football history.

In 1990, Iraq competed in qualifying for a berth in the 1990 World Cup finals, but they lost a crucial game against Qatar.

During the qualifying for the 1994 World Cup, Iraq faced Japan in Doha in the final match of the final qualifying round on 28 October 1993, where Iraq needed a win to advance. However, Japan produced a 2–2 tie, which resulted in elimination for both teams. During the qualifiers for the 1998 World Cup they failed to reach the final round of qualifying, coming second behind Kazakhstan.

Rise (2000-2007)[edit]

Iraq participated in and won the West Asian Championship in 2002. Iraq failed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup after losing crucial matches at home against Saudi Arabia and Iran.

After qualifying to the Asian Cup 2004, Iraq was drawn with Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in the tournament. Iraq finished second in this group by winning 2-1 against Saudi Arabia and 3-2 against Turkmenistan, and losing 1-0 to Uzbekistan. In quarter-final clash against China, Iraq lost 3-0.

In November 2004, Iraq failed to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, losing out to Uzbekistan. Despite this, Iraq won the 2004 AFC Team of the Year award by the end of the year. In 2005, Iraq won the Gold medal of the West Asian Games.

2007 AFC Asian Cup Victory[edit]

Iraq's first major honour was the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. The tournament started with a 1–1 draw with Thailand in Bangkok. That was followed by a 3–1 win against Australia and a 0–0 draw with Oman. The quarter-finals saw them beat Vietnam 2–0, and the semi-final against favourites South Korea went to penalties that ended goalless after extra time. Noor Sabri was Iraq's hero when he saved Korea's fourth spot-kick from Yeom Ki-hun. After Ahmed Menajed had made it 4-3 to the West Asians, Korean Kim Jung-woo hit the post to send the nation through to their first Asian Cup final.

The final was against local rivals Saudi Arabia, and Younis Mahmoud scored the only goal on 72 minutes to win the tournament for Iraq. This victory secured Iraq's first Asian Cup title. As the winner, Iraq represented the AFC at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

After the 2007 Asian Cup (2007–2009)[edit]

On May 26, 2008, FIFA provisionally suspended the Iraq Football Association from competition for one year, following a decision by the Iraqi government to disband the country's national sports federations.[1] However the decision was overturned by FIFA on May 29, 2008, since the Iraqi government reversed its earlier decision in dissolving the Iraq Football Association.[2]

In June 2008, Iraq failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, gaining two wins over China and Australia, a tie against China, but lost their final game in the group 1–0 to Qatar. They ended up with 7 points from 6 games behind Qatar and Australia

2009 FIFA Confederations Cup[edit]

As a result of winning the 2007 Asian Cup, Iraq qualified for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, that took place in South Africa in June 2009, in which matches that were scheduled against the hosts, Spain, and New Zealand. In the opener, Iraq was able to hold South Africa to a 0–0 draw. And only lost to Spain 1–0 and was 0–0 at half-time. Though Spain defeated South Africa 2–0 which was necessary for Iraq to advance to the next stage, needing to beat New Zealand by 2 goals, but only tied 0–0.

Revival and continued struggles[edit]

Again, on November 20, 2009, just two days after Iraq won the UAE International Cup with a 1-0 win over UAE in the final, FIFA decided to suspend the Iraqi Football Association (IFA) due to governmental interference.[3] This was later lifted in March 2010 as the Iraqi National Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee had helped restore the IFA's "full authority.[4]

Iraq qualified automatically for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. They were drawn against Iran, North Korea and United Arab Emirates in Group D. After a 2–1 loss against Iran, and 1–0 win against United Arab Emirates, Iraq went into the match against North Korea needing only a draw to progress. Iraq won 1–0 and advanced to the quarterfinals as runners-up. On 23 January, Iraq lost to Australia, 1–0, in the quarterfinal. The match went into extra time with Harry Kewell heading in a goal in the 117th minute just inside the 18-yard box.

Under coach Wolfgang Sidka, Iraq were drawn into the second round of qualifiers where they faced Yemen. Iraq defeated Yemen 2–0 in Arbil on 23 July before drawing 0–0 in Al Ain five days later. Iraq advanced to the third round of qualifiers where they were grouped with Jordan, China and Singapore. The top two teams from the group progressed to the fourth round. The Iraq Football Association (IFA) has announced it won't be renewing the contract of national team boss Wolfgang Sidka on 2 August 2011.[5]

On 29 August 2011, Brazilian legend Zico has signed a one-year contract to become the new coach of Iraq.[6] Iraq topped Group A with 15 points, with Jordan coming in second with 12 points. They made it for the first time since 2001 to the fourth and final qualifying round. In the final qualification stage, Iraq was drawn with Jordan, Japan Australia and Oman.

On 28 November 2012, Zico resigned as head coach, after little more than a year in the post, saying the country’s football association had failed to fulfill the terms of his contract.[7]

The Iraqi FA appointed Vladimir Petrović as head coach of Iraq on 25 February 2013.[8] Under Petrović, Iraq lost its first game against China 1-0 during an Asian Cup Qualifier on 22 March 2013. 4 days after that match, Iraq won 2-1 during a friendly in Baghdad (the first match in Baghdad since 2009). In May 2013, Iraq lost a friendly match in Baghdad 1-0 against Liberia.

After 3 consecutive losses in June, Iraq failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, finishing bottom of the group in the final qualifying round, with 1 win, 2 draws and 5 losses out of 8 games played. Petrović coached a young squad to a 6-0 loss to Chile on August 14, 2013 in a friendly match, which would go on record as Iraq's worst ever defeat in their history. After the shocking 6-0 loss to Chile, Iraq's football association fired the national team's Serbian head coach on 10 September 2013, blaming a string of "bad results", after the squad failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.[9]

Rebuilding (2013–)[edit]

The Iraqi FA appointed Hakeem Shaker as head coach of Iraq.[10]

Shaker takes over as the Iraqi national squad tries to qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup. Iraq are in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifying group alongside Saudi Arabia, China PR and Indonesia. On 15 October 2013 Iraq lost 2-0 against Saudi Arabia. Despite a better display, Iraq lost 2-1 against Saudi Arabia on 15 November 2013.

Iraq kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup as first-half goals by Hammadi Ahmed and Karrar Jassim gave them a 2-0 away win over Indonesia on 19 November 2013.

Home matches in Iraq[edit]

Home matches dilemma[edit]

Iraq played their home games on neutral territory in the 1980s due to the Iraq-Iran war, but still qualified for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and three Olympic Games (Moscow, Los Angeles and Seoul). In qualification for the 2002 World Cup, Iraq played at home against Iran, Bahrain, and Thailand in the Al Shaab Stadium in Baghdad, but Saudi Arabia refused to play against the nation because of the tensions between that country and the regime of Saddam Hussein. In 2003, the war in Iraq forced Iraq to play their "home" matches outside the country for security reasons, and so fixtures were held in Jordan, Syria, Qatar or the UAE.

Due to the Iraq war and post war events, Iraq was unable to host home matches in Iraq. In 2009 The Iraq Football Association (IFA) asked FIFA to end its ban imposed on hosting official matches on Iraq. Iraq resumed playing on home soil on July 10, 2009, winning a friendly 3–0 against Palestine in Franso Hariri Stadium, Arbil. 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 stadium at Arbil as a venue for matches involving the Iraqi national team, and clubs in continental tournaments.[11]

On September 2, 2011, Iraq played their first FIFA World Cup qualifier on home ground for the first time in years. They played against Jordan in front of a crowd of 24,000 people in the Franso Hariri Stadium in Arbil. On 22 March 2013, FIFA lifted a ban on international football friendlies in Iraqi stadiums on Thursday, permitting matches in Baghdad for the first time since the 2003 US-led invasion, an Iraqi football official said.

On March 26, 2013, Iraq played their first International friendly match in Baghdad since 2009 against Syria in front of a crowd of 50,000+ people in the Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad. However, on 3 July 2013, FIFA barred Iraq from hosting international football friendlies due to a massive surge in nationwide violence, barely three months after world football's governing body gave Baghdad the go-ahead.

Al-Shaab Stadium[edit]

Al Shaab Stadium (Arabic: ملعب الشعب‎) also known as The People's Stadium,[12] is a multi-purpose stadium in Baghdad, Iraq. It is used mostly for football (soccer) matches and is the home of the Iraq national football team. The stadium has seating for 45,000 fans.[13] It was built in 1966. The opening match featured Iraq and Benfica, for whom Eusébio was playing.

Basra Sports City[edit]

The construction of Basra Sports City was started on 15 July 2009 and expected to be completed in 2013. The city is being funded by the government of Iraq with a budget spending of $1000 million, contributed to contain main stadium with capacity of 65,000 people, secondary stadium with capacity of 20,000, four Five Stars hotels and other sports related facilities. The contract of this project was given to Abdullah Al-Jaburi, a major Iraqi construction contractor, two American companies, 360 architecture and Newport Global. The project is expected to be one of the largest sports complexes in the Middle East.

Home matches in Iraq since 2003[edit]

      Win       Draw       Loss

DateVenueOpponentResultCompetitionIraq scorersManager
July 10, 2009Iraq Franso Hariri Stadium, Erbil Palestine3–0 WInternational friendlyHawar Goal 19', Mahmoud Goal 55', Luay Goal 90'Nadhim Shaker
July 13, 2009Iraq Al-Shaab Stadium, Baghdad Palestine4–0 WInternational friendlyHawar Goal 27', Karrar Goal 57', Abdul-Zahra Goal 72', Emad Goal 90'
December 18, 2010Iraq Sulaymania Stadium, Sulaymania Syria0–1 LInternational friendlyWolfgang Sidka
June 29, 2011Iraq Franso Hariri Stadium, Erbil Syria1–2 LInternational friendlyAbdul-Zahra Goal 87'
July 23, 2011Iraq Franso Hariri Stadium, Erbil Yemen2–0 W2014 FIFA World Cup Qual.Hawar Goal 10', Abdul-Zahra Goal 64'
September 2, 2011Iraq Franso Hariri Stadium, Erbil Jordan0–2 L2014 FIFA World Cup Qual.Zico
March 26, 2013Iraq Al-Shaab Stadium, Baghdad Syria2–1 WInternational friendlyMahmoud Goal 52', Rehema Goal 90+5'Vladimir Petrovic
May 27, 2013Iraq Al-Shaab Stadium, Baghdad Liberia0–1 LInternational friendly

Fan chanting[edit]

Iraq national team supporters are known for chanting "O Victorious Baghdad" for Iraqi teams matches.[14]

Always remains High, O Victorious Baghdad, ( أتضلي دايما فوق، منصورة يا بغداد )
And to see your eternal Glory, O Victorious Baghdad. ( و نشوفج بعز دوم ، منصورة يا بغداد )
O Victorious Baghdad, O Victorious Baghdad, ( منصورة يا بغداد، منصورة يا بغداد )

Another famous chant is "هسه يجي الثاني" which literally translates into "the second goal is coming" this is usually being chanted repeatedly after Iraq scores a goal to motivate the players to score another.

Kits[edit]

Colours[edit]

Kit manufacturer[edit]

The Iraqi national football team has previously been sponsored by brands such as Adidas, Puma, Nike, Diadora, Jack & Jones, Lotto, Umbro and its current sponsor Peak.

PeriodKit manufacturer
1984–1986England Umbro
1986–1994Germany Adidas
1996Germany Puma
2004–2005Denmark Jack & Jones
2006Germany Adidas
2007England Umbro
2008–presentChina Peak

Competition records[edit]

FIFA World Cup record[edit]

FIFA World Cup recordQualifications record
YearRoundPositionPldWDLGFGAGPWDLGSGA
Uruguay 1930 to Mexico 1970Did not enterDid not enter
West Germany 1974Did not qualify6321116
Argentina 1978Did not enterDid not enter
Spain 1982Did not qualify430152
Mexico 1986Group stage23rd30031485121311
Italy 1990Did not qualify6321115
United States 1994137423713
France 19984202148
South Korea Japan 2002146353715
Germany 20066321177
South Africa 20108323116
Brazil 2014167362012
TotalGroup Stage1/203003148442192317683

FIFA Confederations Cup[edit]

FIFA Confederations Cup record
YearRoundPositionPldWD *LGFGA
Saudi Arabia 1992Did not enter
Saudi Arabia 1995
Saudi Arabia 1997Did not qualify
Mexico 1999
South Korea Japan 2001
France 2003
Germany 2005
South Africa 2009Group stage7th302101
Brazil 2013Did not qualify
Russia 2017To be determined
TotalBest: Group stage1/9302101

Olympic Games[edit]

Football at the Olympics has been an under-23 tournament since 1992.
Olympic Games record
YearResultPositionGPWD*LGSGA
United Kingdom 1908 to Australia 1956Did not enter
Italy 1960Did not qualify
Japan 1964
Mexico 1968
Germany 1972
Canada 1976
Soviet Union 1980Quarterfinals8th412145
United States 1984Group stage14th301236
South Korea 1988Group Stage10th311154
Since 1992 – onward editions are part of Iraq Olympic team record
TotalBest:Quarterfinals3/17102441215

Major Asian tournaments[edit]

AFC Asian Cup record

AFC Asian Cup Finals recordQualifications record
YearResultPositionGPWD*LGSGAGPWD*LGSGA
Hong Kong 1956Did not enterDid not enter
South Korea 1960
Israel 1964
Iran 1968
Thailand 1972Group stage6th302114330080
Iran 1976Fourth place4th4103366510143
Kuwait 1980WithdrewWithdrew
Singapore 1984
Qatar 1988
Japan 1992Did not enterDid not enter
United Arab Emirates 1996Quarterfinals6th420264220040
Lebanon 2000Quarterfinals7th411257330092
China 2004Quarterfinals8th4202576411164
IndonesiaMalaysiaThailandVietnam 2007Champions1st6330726321128
Qatar 2011Quarterfinals8th420233Qualified as Holders
Australia 2015Qualification in progress520345
TotalBest: Champions7/16291161230333122456722

Asian Games record

Football at the Asian Games has been an under-23 tournament since 2002.
Asian Games Finals record
YearResultPositionGPWD*LGSGA
India 1951 to Thailand 1970
Did not enter
Iran 1974
Round 2
5th
6
3
2
1
6
2
Thailand 1978
Fourth place
4th
7
4
1
2
11
4
India 1982
Gold Medal
1st
6
5
0
1
11
2
South Korea 1986
Quarterfinals
6th
5
3
1
1
13
5
China 1990
Banned1
Since 1994-Onward editions are part of Iraq Olympic team record
Total
Best: Gold medal
4/11
24
15
4
5
41
13

1 Iraq was banned from the competition from 1991 to 2002 due to the Gulf War.

Regional Asian tournaments[edit]

Gulf Cup of Nations record

Gulf Cup of Nations
YearResultGPWDLGSGA
Bahrain 1970Did not enter
Saudi Arabia 1972
Kuwait 1974
Qatar 19762nd place7421238
Iraq 1979
Champions6600231
United Arab Emirates 1982
Withdrawn
Oman 1984Champions7421125
Bahrain 19866th613289
Saudi Arabia 1988Champions642081
Kuwait 1990
Withdrawn
Qatar 1992 to Kuwait 2003
Banned1
Qatar 2004Group stage302157
United Arab Emirates 2007Group stage311122
Oman 2009Group stage301228
Yemen 2010Semifinals413054
Bahrain 20132nd place540173
Saudi Arabia 2014
Withdrawn
TotalBest: Champions50251699548

1 Iraq was banned from the competition from 1991 to 2003 due to the Gulf War.

West Asian Football Federation Championship record

WAFF Championship
YearRoundGPWDLGFGA
Jordan 2000
3rd place
5
3
2
0
10
2
Syria 2002
Champions
4
3
1
0
6
2
Iran 2004
Fourth place
4
1
0
3
4
8
Jordan 2007
2nd place
4
2
1
1
5
2
Iran 2008
Withdrawn
Jordan 2010
Semifinals
3
2
0
1
6
3
Kuwait 2012
2nd place
4
2
1
1
4
2
Qatar 2014
Group Stage
2
0
2
0
0
0
Total
Best: Champions
25
13
6
6
35
19

West Asian Games record

WAG
YearRoundGPWDLGFGA
Iran 1997
Did not Enter
Kuwait 2002
Qatar 2005
Champions
4
3
1
0
13
3
Total
Best: Champions
4
3
1
0
13
3

Arab tournaments[edit]

Arab Nations Cup record

Arab Nations Cup
YearRoundGPWDLGFGA
Lebanon 1963
Did not enter
Kuwait 1964
Champions
4
3
1
0
6
2
Iraq 1966
Champions
6
5
1
0
20
5
Saudi Arabia 1985
Champions
4
3
1
0
7
3
Jordan 1988
Champions
6
2
4
0
7
2
Syria 1992
Banned1
Qatar 1998
Saudi Arabia 2002
Saudi Arabia 2012
Third place
5
3
1
1
6
4
Total
Best: Champions
25
16
8
1
46
16

1 Iraq was banned from the competition from 1991 to 2002 due to the Gulf War.

Pan Arab Games record

Pan Arab Games
YearRoundGPWDLGFGA
Egypt 1953
Did not enter
Lebanon 1957
Group stage
3
1
1
1
8
8
Morocco 1961
Did not enter
United Arab Republic 1965
Group stage
4
1
2
1
7
2
Syria 1976
Did not enter
Morocco 1985
Champions
4
4
0
0
7
1
Lebanon 1997
Did not enter
Jordan 1999
2nd place
7
4
1
2
17
9
Egypt 2007
Did not enter
Qatar 2011
Group stage
2
0
1
1
0
3
Egypt2015
To be determined
-
-
-
-
-
-
Iraq 2019
Hosting
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total
Best: Champions
20
10
5
5
39
23

Matches[edit]

Records versus other nations[edit]

Rivalries[edit]

Statistics vs.  Kuwait
Played1Wins2Draws3LosesGFGA
3015784330

1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
2. Wins for Iraq.
3. Includes matches won or lost on P.K.

Iraq rivalry with Kuwait is considered as the Arab world's greatest football rivalry of all time.[15] The rivalry began since mid 70's and it was the decade from 1976 until 1986 that saw the golden age of football for arguably the finest teams the region has produced. Both nations Imposed their complete domination on the Gulf region, and from the Gulf Cup's inception in 1970 until 1990, the tournament was won by only two teams; Kuwait seven times (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1990), and despite Iraq's absence in the first three editions and withdrawn in two others, Iraq won it three times (1979, 1984, 1988).[15]

Iraq and Kuwait took their increasingly bitter rivalry to a new level. On June 11, 1976, the two met in the semi-final of the Asian Cup in Tehran; Kuwait took the lead twice, Iraq came roaring back twice, And then, in the 10th minute of extra time, Kamel scored the winner for Kuwait. In 1979, the year Iraq clinched their first Gulf Cup and won over Kuwait 3–1, the two met in a qualifier for the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, both managed to qualify to the Olympic Games, and both made it to the quarter-finals in Moscow. Iraq also qualified for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and 1988 Games in Seoul. The 1982 Asian Games was won as well. Kuwait won the 1980 AFC Asian Cup, which they hosted. The nations also left their mark on the world stage. Kuwait qualified for the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain. Iraq matched that in Mexico 1986.[15]

As Iraq and Kuwait traded Gulf titles in 1988 and 1990, few could have imagined that their rivalry on the football field would be replaced by an altogether more catastrophic one on the battlefield. Because of the Gulf war, football would never be the same again. Iraq and Kuwait were in complete avoidance and never met for more than a decade. Kuwait's Blues had a relative recovery of sorts, winning the Gulf Cup in 1996 and 1998, before securing their record 10th title in 2010. Iraqi football, because of the torturer-in-chief Uday Hussein's reign of terror as head of the football association, would take far longer to recover. When it did, it was in glorious fashion, the Lions of Mesopotamia winning the 2007 Asian Cup.[15]

Recent results and fixtures[edit]

      Win       Draw       Loss

DateVenueOpponentResultCompetitionIraq scorers
2014
March 5, 2014United Arab Emirates Al-Rashid Stadium, Dubai China PR2015 Asian Cup qual.

Personnel[edit]

Current technical staff[edit]

PositionName
Head coachIraq Hakeem Shaker
Assistant coachIraq Karim Salman
Goalkeeping coachIraq Abdul-Karim Naaim
Fitness coachIraq Sardar Mohammed
Team doctorIraq Qasim Mohammed
Team managerIraq Basil Gorgis

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

0#0Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
1GKHaidar Raad(1991-04-27) April 27, 1991 (age 22)10Iraq Dohuk
1GKMohammed Hameed(1993-01-24) January 24, 1993 (age 20)50Iraq Al-Shorta
1GKMohannad Qassim(1990-07-01) July 1, 1990 (age 23)10Iraq Baghdad
2DFMohammed Jabbar Rubat(1993-06-29) June 29, 1993 (age 20)40Iraq Al-Mina'a
2DFAli Bahjat(1992-03-03) March 3, 1992 (age 21)140Iraq Al-Shorta
2DFMustafa Nadhim(1993-09-23) September 23, 1993 (age 20)21Iraq Najaf
2DFAli Adnan(1993-12-19) December 19, 1993 (age 20)200Turkey Çaykur Rizespor
2DFSalam Shaker (Vice-Captain)(1986-07-31) July 31, 1986 (age 27)694Qatar Al-Khor
2DFAli Rehema (Captain)(1985-08-08) August 8, 1985 (age 28)1032Qatar Al-Wakrah
2DFDhurgham Ismail(1994-05-23) May 23, 1994 (age 19)111Iraq Al-Shorta
2DFWaleed Salem(1992-01-05) January 5, 1992 (age 22)180Iraq Al-Shorta
2DFAli Faez(1994-09-09) September 9, 1994 (age 19)40Iraq Erbil
3MFHussein Abdul-Wahed(1985-02-28) February 28, 1985 (age 28)20Iraq Al-Shorta
3MFSaif Salman(1993-07-01) July 1, 1993 (age 20)250Iraq Erbil
3MFAmjad Kalaf(1991-10-05) October 5, 1991 (age 22)90Iraq Al-Shorta
3MFHumam Tariq(1996-02-10) February 10, 1996 (age 17)140Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
3MFKarrar Jassim(1987-03-15) March 15, 1987 (age 26)596Iraq Al-Talaba
3MFJawad Kadhim(1994-10-14) October 14, 1994 (age 19)10Iraq Al-Naft
3MFMuthana Khalid(1989-06-14) June 14, 1989 (age 24)400Iraq Erbil
3MFSaad Abdul-Amir(1992-01-19) January 19, 1992 (age 21)281Iraq Erbil
3MFBashar Rasan(1996-12-22) December 22, 1996 (age 17)00Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
4FWHammadi Ahmad(1989-10-18) October 18, 1989 (age 24)276Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
4FWAmjad Radhi(1990-07-17) July 17, 1990 (age 23)192Iraq Erbil
4FWMohannad Abdul-Raheem(1993-09-22) September 22, 1993 (age 20)130Iraq Dohuk
4FWYounis Mahmoud(1983-03-02) March 2, 1983 (age 30)12248Unattached
3MFAlaa Abdul-Zahra(1987-12-22) December 22, 1987 (age 26)6111Iraq Dohuk

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players have also been called up to the Iraq squad within the last 12 months. Retired players are not listed.

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
GKSaqr Ajeel(1993-01-03) January 3, 1993 (age 21)00Iraq Baghdadv.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
GKJalal Hassan(1991-05-18) May 18, 1991 (age 22)70Iraq Erbilv.  Australia, June 18, 2013
DFAhmad Ibrahim(1992-02-25) February 25, 1992 (age 21)300Qatar Muaitherv.  Saudi Arabia, November 15, 2013
DFHussam Kadhim(1987-10-17) October 17, 1987 (age 26)140Iraq Al-Naftv.  Saudi Arabia, November 15, 2013
DFAshraf Abdul-Karim(1991-07-07) July 7, 1991 (age 22)00Iraq Al-Zawra'av.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
DFBayar Abubakir(1990-12-01) December 1, 1990 (age 23)00Iraq Dohukv.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
DFHerdi Sejamahnd(1985-01-31) January 31, 1985 (age 28)00Iraq Erbilv.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
MFQusay Munir(1981-04-04) April 4, 1981 (age 32)876Iraq Al-Shortav.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
MFAhmed Yasin(1991-04-22) April 22, 1991 (age 22)231Sweden Örebrov.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
MFHalgurd Mulla Mohammed(1988-03-11) March 11, 1988 (age 25)100Iraq Erbilv.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
MFNabeel Sabah(1990-07-01) July 1, 1990 (age 23)100Iraq Erbilv.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
MFMahdi Kamel(1995-01-06) January 6, 1995 (age 19)40Iraq Al-Shortav.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
MFAmmar Abdul-Hussein(1993-02-13) February 13, 1993 (age 20)20Iraq Al-Shortav.  Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2013
MFHaidar Sabah(1986-03-15) March 15, 1986 (age 27)20Iraq Al-Zawra'av.  Australia, June 18, 2013
MFAhmad Fadhel(1992-01-01) January 1, 1992 (age 22)10Iraq Al-Shortav.  Oman, June 4, 2013
MFAhmad Abbas(1994-05-09) May 9, 1994 (age 19)40Iraq Naft Al-Janoobv.  Syria, March 26, 2013
MFAmeer Sabah(1988-01-10) January 10, 1988 (age 26)40Iraq Baghdadv.  Syria, March 26, 2013
FWMohammed Jabbar Shwkan(1993-05-21) May 21, 1993 (age 20)00Iraq Al-Minaav.  Saudi Arabia, November 15, 2013
FWHussein Karim(1990-12-31) December 31, 1990 (age 23)00Iraq Al-Shortav.  Saudi Arabia, November 15, 2013
FWMustafa Karim(1987-07-21) July 21, 1987 (age 26)487Iraq Al-Shortav.  Chile, August 14, 2013
FWAli Qasim(1994-01-20) January 20, 1994 (age 19)10Iraq Duhokv.  Chile, August 14, 2013
FWFarhan Shakor(1995-10-15) October 15, 1995 (age 18)00Iraq Erbilv.  Chile, August 14, 2013
FWHussam Ibrahim(1987-05-10) May 10, 1987 (age 26)80Iraq Baghdadv.  China PR, March 22, 2013

Previous squads[edit]

FIFA World Cup
FIFA Confederations Cup
Olympic Games
Asian Cup

Caps, goalscorers and captains record[edit]

Most caps[edit]

As of 19 November 2013
Players in bold are still available for selection.
#NameCapsGoalsFirst capLatest cap
1Hussein Saeed1266117 July 19773 March 1990
2Younis Mahmoud122485 July 200215 November 2013
3Nashat Akram113175 October 20014 June 2013
4Hawar Mulla Mohammed1121931 August 200112 June 2012
5Falah Hassan1103019691986
6Emad Mohammed1032712 November 200011 November 2011
=Ali Rehema10328 June 200519 November 2013
8Laith Hussein962519 September 198913 January 2002
9Mahdi Karim951212 October 20013 July 2012
10Noor Sabri94022 July 20028 October 2013

Top 10 goalscorers[edit]

As of 19 November 2013
Players in bold are still available for selection.
NoNameCareerGoalsCapsGoals per game
1Hussein Saeed1977–1990611260.484
2Younis Mahmoud2002–481220.410
3Ahmed Radhi1983–199742730.575
4Falah Hassan1969–1986301100.273
5Ali Kadhim1970–198029800.363
6Emad Mohammed2000–2011271030.262
=Habib Jafar1986–200127920.293
8Laith Hussein1986–200225960.260
9Razzaq Farhan1998–200724600.400
10Hawar Mulla Mohammed2001–2012191120.170

Team captains[edit]

Captains of the Iraqi national football team by starting year

NoNameStarting year
1Wadoud Khalil1950
2Jamil Abbas1956
3Sahib Khazal1962
4Hisham Atta Ajaj1966
5Abid Kadhim1970
6Douglas Aziz1973
7Mujbel Fartous1976
8Falah Hassan1978
9Raad Hammoudi1982
10Hussein Saeed1986
11Adnan Dirjal1989
12Ahmed Radhi1993
13Laith Hussein1996
14Emad Hashim1999
15Hussam Fawzi2002
16Razzaq Farhan2004
17Younis Mahmoud2007

Managers[edit]

The team has had 70 coaches, of whom 50 have been Iraqi.[16][17]

Managers (January 2000 – present )
NamePeriodMatchesWinsDrawsLossesWin %Achievements
Iraq Adnan HamadJanuary 2000 – September 2000731343%
Serbia and Montenegro Milan ŽivadinovićOctober 2000 – October 2000411225%Quarter finalists at the 2000 AFC Asian Cup
Iraq Adnan Hamad (2nd time)January 2001 – September 20011353538%
Croatia Rudolf BelinSeptember 2001 – January 2002312133%
Iraq Adnan Hamad (3rd time)January 2002 – September 20028800100%
Germany Bernd StangeOctober 2002 – April 20041766535%Qualified for 2004 AFC Asian Cup
Iraq Adnan Hamad (4th time)April 2004 – January 20051872939%Quarter finalists at the 2004 AFC Asian Cup
Iraq Akram SalmanJanuary 2005 – May 200727127844%Qualified for 2007 AFC Asian Cup
Brazil Jorvan VieiraMay 2007 – July 20071465343%Winner of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup
Qualified for 2011 AFC Asian Cup
Qualified for 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
Norway Egil OlsenSeptember 2007 – February 2008623133%
Iraq Adnan Hamad (5th time)March 2008 – June 2008821525%
Brazil Jorvan Vieira (2nd time)September 2008 – February 200940220%
Iraq Radhi Shenaishil (caretaker)February 2009 – April 200920110%
Serbia Bora MilutinovićApril 2009 – June 200940310%1st round of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
Iraq Nadhim ShakerJuly 2009 – August 20104400100%
Germany Wolfgang SidkaAugust 2010 – August 201127136850%Quarter finalists at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup
Brazil ZicoAugust 2011 – November 201222106645%
Iraq Hakeem Shaker (caretaker)December 2012 – February 20131272359%
Serbia Vladimir PetrovićFebruary 2013 – September 2013710614%
Iraq Hakeem ShakerSeptember 2013 –631250%

Trivia[edit]

  • Iraq holds the Asian record for having scored in 27 consecutive matches between 1992 and 1996.[18]

Major Honours[edit]

Winners (0):
Runners-up (0):
Appearances (1): 1986,
Winners (0):
Runners-up (0):
Appearances (1): 2009
Winners (1): 2007
Runners-up (0):
Appearances (7): 1972, 1976, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2011
Winners (1): 2002
Runners-up (2): 2007, 2012
Appearances (6): 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2012
Winners (3): 1979, 1984, 1988
Runners-up (2): 1976, 2013
Appearances (11): 1976, 1979, 1984, 1986, 1988, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013
Winners (4): 1964, 1966, 1985, 1988
Runners-up (0):
Appearances (5): 1964, 1966, 1985, 1988, 2012

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Australia Australia
AFC Men's Team of the Year
2007
Succeeded by
Japan Japan
Preceded by
Japan Japan
AFC Asian Cup Champions
2007
Succeeded by
Japan Japan
Preceded by
Kuwait Kuwait
West Asian Games Champions
2005
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Japan Japan
AFC Men's Team of the Year
2004
Succeeded by
South Korea Korea Republic
Preceded by
Iran Iran
West Asian Championship Champions
2002
Succeeded by
Iran Iran
Preceded by
South Korea Korea Republic
North Korea Korea DPR
Asian Games Champions
1982
Succeeded by
South Korea Korea Republic
Preceded by
Tunisia Tunisia
Arab Nations Cup Champions
1964 (first title)
1966 (second title)
1985 (third title)
1988 (fourth title)
Succeeded by
Egypt Egypt
Preceded by
Morocco Morocco
Pan Arab Games Champions
1985
Succeeded by
Egypt Egypt
Preceded by
Kuwait Kuwait
Kuwait Kuwait
Kuwait Kuwait
Gulf Cup of Nations Champions
1979 (first title)
1984 (second title)
1988 (third title)
Succeeded by
Kuwait Kuwait
Kuwait Kuwait
Kuwait Kuwait