Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scouting the Opponent: Iraq



FIFA Rank:
(T-107th)(16th in Asia)
Previous Encounters: 11 (0-2-8)
2007 WAFF L 0-1
2004 WAFF L 1-2
2002 WAFF L 0-2

2010 Results:
Friendly v. Jordan L 1-4
Friendly v. Oman W 2-3

WAFF Squad: Wolfgang Sidka took over the Iraqi post only last month and has inherited a talented squad, but one searching to find its identity after a 10-month international ban. Defensively, Sidka's Iraq couldn't be further from the squad we saw last year at the Confederations Cup, and have been exposed on the counter, especially on the flanks, in their last two friendlies. They will be missing many quality players who were not released by their Qatari clubs as well as Konyaspor wingback Bassim Abbas.

Key Players: Some familiar names in the squad include GK Mohammed Gassid and midfield trio of Karrar Jassim, Nashat Akram, and Hawar Mulla Mohammed. Unless Iraq can fix their problems at the back these four will need to carry the team Gassid will have to step up and make big saves, like his backup-Ali Mutasher did against Oman, saving a penalty and making numerous saves. In attack it is going to fall to the experienced players to step up, Akram and Hawar will need to show that they are not past their primes. In midfield, the Lions of Mesopotamia must make life difficult for the opponent and allow them less time on the ball.