Iraq national football team

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This article is about the men's team. For the women's team, see Iraq women's national football team.
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Usood Al-Rafidain
(Lions of Mesopotamia)
Association Iraq Football Association
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation WAFF (West Asia)
UAFA (Arab world)
GCF (Arabian Gulf)
Head coach Radhi Shenaishil
Captain Alaa Abdul-Zahra
Most caps Younis Mahmoud (148)
Top scorer Hussein Saeed (78)
Home stadium Basra Sports City
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 113 Increase 15 (20 October 2016)
Highest 39 (6 October 2004)
Lowest 139 (3 July 1996)
Elo ranking
Current 86 (24 October 2016)
Highest 25 (3 December 1982)
Lowest 95 (14 September 2016)
First international
 Morocco 3–3 Iraq Iraq
(Beirut, Lebanon; 19 October 1957)
Biggest win
Iraq Iraq 13–0 Ethiopia Ethiopia
(Irbid, Jordan; 18 August 1992)
Biggest defeat
 Turkey 7–1 Iraq Iraq
(Adana, Turkey; 6 December 1959)
 Brazil 0–0 Iraq Iraq
(Malmö, Sweden; 11 October 2012)
 Chile 0–0 Iraq Iraq
(Copenhagen, Denmark; 14 August 2013)
World Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 1986)
Best result Group stage, 1986
Asian Cup
Appearances 8 (First in 1972)
Best result Champions, 2007
Confederations Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 2009)
Best result Group stage, 2009

The Iraq national football team (Arabic: المنتخب العراقي لكرة القدم‎‎) represents Iraq in international football. It is known by its fans as Usood Al-Rafidain (Arabic: اسود الرافدين‎‎) which means Lions of Mesopotamia. The team is controlled by the Iraq Football Association (IFA), which is currently a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as well as the following regional football confederations: West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) and Gulf Cup Federation (GCF).

Iraq is one of the most successful teams in the AFC, winning the AFC Asian Cup once (in 2007), winning the gold medal at the Asian Games once (in 1982) and being awarded the AFC National Team of the Year award twice (in 2003 and 2007, and the under-20 team won the award in 2013). Iraq has achieved similar success at a regional level too, winning the WAFF Championship once (in 2002), the gold medal at the West Asian Games once (in 2005), the Arab Nations Cup four times (in 1964, 1966, 1985 and 1988), the gold medal at the Pan Arab Games once (in 1985) and the Gulf Cup of Nations three times (in 1979, 1984 and 1988).

Iraq has participated in the FIFA World Cup once (in 1986) and in the FIFA Confederations Cup once (in 2009), failing to advance past the group stages both times. The team has been ranked as high as 39th in the FIFA World Rankings, which they achieved in October 2004. The current manager of the national team is Radhi Shenaishil, who led Iraq to a fourth-place finish at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.


Early years and successes[edit]

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. The Baghdad FA soon disbanded though, and it wasn't 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. This was not a FIFA 'A' international game though. 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.[1] Iraq were eventually knocked out in the group stage of that tournament.

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 next year, they participated in the Pan Arab Games for the second time, but were once again knocked out in the group stage. The following year, they lost the final of the 1966 Tripoli Fair Tournament to Morocco, but also retained their Arab Nations Cup title that year, beating Syria 2–1 in the final. In 1967, Iraq claimed the Tripoli Fair Tournament title with two wins and one draw, and two years later they finished fifth at the Jaam-e-Doosti (Friendship) Cup, hosted in Iran. In 1972, Iraq hosted, and reached the final of, the Palestine Cup of Nations, losing the decisive match to Egypt. That year, Iraq also 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 Palestine Cup of Nations final (1975), lost the Gulf Cup of Nations final (1976), finished fourth at the AFC Asian Cup (1976), lost two consecutive Merdeka Tournament finals (1977 and 1978), finished fourth in the Asian Games (1978) and finally hosted and won the Gulf Cup of Nations (1979).[2] 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 World Cup appearance and many trophies[edit]

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 1981, they won the Merdeka Tournament for the first time, and followed that up by winning the gold medal at the 1982 Asian Games, meanwhile the reserve team finished third at the 1983 Marah Halim Cup. In 1984, Iraq won both the Gulf Cup of Nations and the Merlion Cup, and the following year they finished fourth at the 1985 President's Cup Football Tournament, won the 1985 Arab Nations Cup and also won the gold medal at the Pan Arab Games.

After all this success, Iraq topped it off by qualifying for the 1986 FIFA World Cup with a win over Syria. This was the first and last time to date that Iraq have achieved this. Having finished in a lowly sixth place at the 1986 Gulf Cup of Nations, Iraq were unfancied in the 1986 FIFA World Cup; however Iraq lost all three of their games in the tournament by just one goal, and would have drawn the opening game against Paraguay had the referee not disallowed a legitimate Iraqi goal. Iraq's only goal in the tournament was scored by Ahmed Radhi, the second-highest goalscorer in Iraq's history with 62 goals, behind Hussein Saeed who scored 78 goals.

In the following years, Iraq reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 Asian Games, won the 1988 Gulf Cup of Nations, reached the quarter-finals of the 1988 President's Cup Football Tournament, won the 1988 Arab Nations Cup, were knocked out at the first round of 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification and won the 1989 Peace and Friendship Cup.[3] Overall, Iraq won nine competitions in the 1980s and played in their only ever World Cup, leading many to believe that this was the Golden Era of Iraqi football. However, things weren't as great off the pitch as they were on it. Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam Hussein, tortured players who played poorly and punished players for losing matches by sending them to prison, making them bathe in raw sewage and shaving their heads among many other awful punishments.[4]

1990s – Friendly cup wins and return to the Asian Cup[edit]

In the 1992 Jordan International Tournament, Iraq recorded their biggest ever win: a 13–0 demolition of Ethiopia. Iraq reached the final of the tournament but lost 2–0 to Jordan. The following year, Iraq participated in qualifiers for the 1994 FIFA World Cup and reached the final round but finished fourth in the group, therefore did not qualify for the finals. 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.[5] Iraq were banned from participating in many tournaments due to the invasion of Kuwait in 1991 and the Gulf War which led to them participating in a number of friendly tournaments instead. Iraq won both the 1995 Nehru Cup and the 1995 Merdeka Tournament and the following year they 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 thanks to a golden goal scored by Abdulrahman Ibrahim. In 1996, Iraq were ranked 139th in the world, which is their worst FIFA ranking in their history. Iraq retained their Nehru Cup title in 1997 and that year they also participated in qualifiers for the 1998 FIFA World Cup but were knocked out at the first round following two defeats to Kazakhstan. Iraq reached the final of the 1999 Pan Arab Games; they were losing 4–0 in the final against Jordan with just 20 minutes of the game remaining but produced a stunning comeback to score four goals in the space of fourteen minutes to take the game to extra time and eventually a penalty shootout which Iraq lost 3–1 to take the silver medal.[6] In 1999 Iraq also participated in the International Friendship Cup and won the cup ahead of the United Arab Emirates, Estonia and Turkmenistan.[7]

2000s – Asian Cup win and Confederations Cup appearance[edit]

Iraq started the 2000s by finishing in third place in the first ever WAFF Championship in 2000, and months later Iraq finished as runners-up in the Shanghai Four Nations Tournament, losing the final 4–1 to China; at the same time as that tournament was going on, the reserve team were participating in the Indonesian Independence Cup and finished that tournament as runners-up. That year Iraq also played in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup but were knocked out at the quarter-final stage again, this time by Japan in another 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 participated in the 2002 Triangolare del San Francesco and finished as runners-up after a 2–1 defeat to AS Nocerina.[8] Also, 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 this game, Younis Mahmoud scored his first official goal for Iraq right at the end of normal time to take the match to extra time; Mahmoud would go on to become Iraq's most-capped player ever. A year later, Iraq played in the LG Cup and reached the final but they were defeated by Uruguay. They also finished as runners-up in the 2003 Prime Minister's Cup, a tournament hosted in Bahrain and won by Egypt; also, that year the Olympic team won the Emir Abdullah Al-Faisal Cup. In 2004, Iraq finished fourth in the WAFF Championship, reached the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup, were knocked out at the second round of 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and were knocked out in the group stage of the Gulf Cup of Nations. In 2004, Iraq were ranked as high as 39th in the World Rankings which is their highest ranking position in their history. The following year, Iraq participated in the West Asian Games for the first time and won the gold medal by beating Syria in the final via a penalty shootout, with goalkeeper Noor Sabri saving two penalties and scoring one himself. In 2006, a defeat to Iran prevented Iraq from winning their first LG Cup, meanwhile in 2007, Iraq were knocked out at the group stage of the Gulf Cup of Nations. 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.[9] A few months later, Iraq reached the final of the WAFF Championship but lost 2–1 to Iran.

In July 2007, Iraq, led by Brazilian coach Jorvan Vieira, also played in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. The squad was made mainly of players that had finished fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games and finished second at the 2006 Asian Games. Jorvan 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 each player only had one kit that they had to take around with them everywhere they went. Midway through the tournament, Iraq ran out of kits and had to make an emergency order from Umbro for a new set of kits that had a different design to the previous one. Meanwhile, 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, a mixture of Sunnis, Shias and Kurds, 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 tournament favourites Australia (which included a free-kick goal by Nashat Akram) whose team consisted of many Premier League players. A draw with Oman followed to put Iraq into the quarter-finals where two Younis Mahmoud goals 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'.[10]

The following year, despite being the continent's champions, 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 their third round group, although the reserve team managed to win the Norway Four Nations Tournament. Following this, the Iraq FA decided to disband the team but they were soon brought back together for the 2009 Gulf Cup of Nations. Iraq failed to win a game in the tournament though and were knocked out at the group stage.

A few months later, 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 to UEFA Euro 2008 winners Spain by a very respectable one goal to nil in a match where they were expected to get beaten very easily. A 2–0 win over New Zealand would have seen Iraq qualify for the semi-finals of the Festival of Champions but they drew the game 0–0 and were knocked out. Iraq had similar problems in this tournament with their kits as players were seen wearing different name and number fonts in the different games. They followed their Confederations Cup appearance by winning the 2009 UAE International Cup with 1–0 wins over Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates. On 20 November 2009, the FIFA Emergency Committee suspended the Iraq FA due to government interference;[11] the suspension was lifted on 19 March 2010.[12]

2010s – Cup final defeats and an Asian Cup semi-final[edit]

The Iraqi national team pose ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Oman in Doha in 2012.

In both the 2010 WAFF Championship and 2010 Gulf Cup of Nations, Iraq were knocked out in the semi-finals, while under the management of Wolfgang Sidka, Iraq were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, failing to retain their title. After this tournament, Iraq announced the appointment of Brazilian football legend Zico as manager of the team and his first tournament in charge was the 2011 Pan Arab Games where Iraq were knocked out at the group stage.[13]

The following years saw Iraq finish fourth at the 2011 Fuchs International Tournament, finish third at the 2012 Arab Nations Cup and lose the finals of both the 2012 WAFF Championship and 2013 Gulf Cup of Nations to Syria and the United Arab Emirates respectively after the resignation of Zico, meanwhile the Olympic team were knocked out at the group stage of the 2013 Islamic Solidarity Games. Iraq reached the fourth round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers but finished bottom of their group. Iraq decided to send their U23 team to the 2014 WAFF Championship, but they sent their first team to the 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations where Iraq finished bottom of their group, leading to the sacking of Hakeem Shaker and the appointment of Radhi Shenaishil as manager. Despite poor preparations, Shenaishil led Iraq to the semi-finals of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup before they lost to South Korea and the United Arab Emirates to finish the tournament in fourth. Their run included an amazing 3–3 draw with Iran in the quarter-final, which Iraq then won in a penalty shootout. Younis Mahmoud also became the first player to score in four different Asian Cups. After this great success, Shenaishil returned to managing Qatar SC and Iraq appointed Akram Salman as manager but he was soon sacked after losing the 2015 Kirin Challenge Cup final 4–0 to Japan. Yahya Alwan was appointed and he led Iraq to direct qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup as well as qualification to the third round of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Despite this, he was replaced by Radhi Shenaishil due to Iraq's poor performances in the qualifiers, although Iraq still qualified to the last round. Iraq have been drawn with Thailand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Australia in their third round group.[14]

Group B

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Saudi Arabia 4 3 1 0 8 3 +5 10 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 2–2 5 Sep '17 3–0 28 Mar '17 1–0
2  Australia 4 2 2 0 6 3 +3 8 8 Jun '17 1–1 28 Mar '17 2–0 5 Sep '17
3  Japan 4 2 1 1 6 4 +2 7 Advance to fourth round 15 Nov '16 31 Aug '17 1–2 2–1 28 Mar '17
4  United Arab Emirates 4 2 0 2 5 6 −1 6 31 Aug '17 0–1 23 Mar '17 15 Nov '16 3–1
5  Iraq 4 1 0 3 6 6 0 3 1–2 23 Mar '17 13 Jun '17 5 Sep '17 4–0
6  Thailand 4 0 0 4 1 10 −9 0 23 Mar '17 15 Nov '16 0–2 13 Jun '17 31 Aug '17
Updated to match(es) played on 11 October 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers

Home matches in Iraq[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 in Iraq. Iraq resumed playing on home soil on 10 July 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.[15]

On 2 September 2011, Iraq played a 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. However, on 23 September 2011, FIFA banned Iraq from playing their qualifiers at home yet again due to fears over security and a breach of safety regulations in the match with Jordan. The Franso Hariri Stadium went on to host the 2012 AFC Cup Final.

On 22 March 2013, FIFA lifted a ban on international football 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. 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.

Fan chanting[edit]

Iraq national team supporters are known for chanting "O Victorious Baghdad" during the Iraqi team's matches.[16]

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 "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.


Iraq's traditional home kit is white, with either green or black trimmings. Exceptions in the past include the 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations kit which featured gold designs instead. The away kit is traditionally green, with white trimmings. In the past, Iraq wore black third kits, with red or white trimmings, however they no longer do so. In the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Iraq's home kit was light blue, and their away kit was yellow; Iraq have not worn such kits since.

Kit manufacturer[edit]

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 Jako.[17]

Period Kit manufacturer
1984–1986 England Umbro
1986–1994 Germany Adidas
1996 Germany Puma
2000 Belgium Patrick
2003–2004 Germany Jako
2004–2006 Denmark Jack & Jones
2006 Italy Diadora
2006 Italy Lotto
2007 Germany Adidas
2007 England Umbro
2008–2014 China Peak
2014 Germany Adidas
2014– Germany Jako

Kit history[edit]




Unlike most other national teams, Iraq kits usually have the country's flag on them rather than the football association's logo. The football association's logo did appear instead of the flag in 2002 and from 2014–2015. However, in some cases both the flag and the football association'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, meanwhile in 2000, Iraq 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. In the 2007 WAFF Championship and part of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, Iraq reverted to using the logo that they had used in 2000.

Competition records[edit]

FIFA World Cup[edit]

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

FIFA Confederations Cup[edit]

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

Olympic Games[edit]

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

AFC Asian Cup[edit]

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.



Statistics vs.  Kuwait
Played1 Wins2 Draws3 Losses GF GA
32 15 9 8 44 32
1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
2. Wins for Iraq.
3. Includes matches that went to a penalty shootout.

Iraq's rivalry with Kuwait is considered as the Arab world's greatest football rivalry of all time.[18] The rivalry began in the mid-1970s 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 Iraq, three times (1979, 1984, 1988), despite Iraq's absence in the first three editions and their withdrawal from two others.[18]

Iraq and Kuwait took their increasingly bitter rivalry to a new level on 11 June 1976. The two met in the semi-final of the AFC Asian Cup in Tehran; Kuwait took the lead twice, but Iraq came roaring back twice. And then, in the 10th minute of extra time, Fathi Kameel scored the winner for Kuwait. In 1979, the year Iraq clinched their first Gulf Cup of Nations with the help of a 3–1 win over Kuwait, the two met in a qualifier for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow; both managed to qualify to the Olympic Games, and both made it to the quarter-finals there. Iraq also qualified for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and 1988 Games in Seoul. Iraq won the gold medal at the 1982 Asian Games by defeating Kuwait 1–0 in the final, while 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.[18]

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; in fact, the first footballing meeting of any sort between the countries was when Iraqi club Al-Shorta faced off against Al-Kuwait in the 2003 Arab Champions League. Kuwait's Blues had a relative recovery of sorts, winning the Gulf Cup in 1996 and 1998, before securing a record tenth 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, with the Lions of Mesopotamia winning the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.[18]

Statistics vs.  Iran
Played1 Wins2 Draws3 Losses GF GA
21 4 5 12 19 31
1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
2. Wins for Iraq.
3. Includes matches that went to a penalty shootout.

Iraq and Iran are rivals.[19][20][21] The rivalry is not such a football-inspired ill-feeling between the two, but more of geography, religion and history.[19]

Iran and Iraq are neighbouring countries, sharing a long history. In contemporary era, especially during the reign of Saddam Hussein, the two countries had bad relations and fought the Iran–Iraq War for 8 years.[20][21] In 2001, for the first time in decades, an Iran-Iraq match was not held at a neutral venue.[21] The rivalry between the two teams was escalated after the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. The two sides faced each other in the quarter-final with Iraq prevailing 7–6 on penalties after a sensational 3–3 draw in Canberra; the game was described as one of the best in the tournament's history. After the game, Iranian supporters voiced their anger at the referee's performance, even going as far to claim that he should receive a life ban for the sending off of an Iranian player, and also launched unfounded allegations against Iraqi player Alaa Abdul-Zahra claiming he was doping in an attempt to get Iraq kicked out of the tournament and themselves reinstated into the semi-finals; their complaint was immediately rejected by the AFC. Iraq eventually finished fourth in the tournament with Iran failing to make the semi-finals for the third straight time and the tensions between both sets of supporters have never been greater.[22]

Recent results and fixtures[edit]

  Win   Draw   Loss

Coaching staff[edit]

Iraq's current manager is Radhi Shenaishil who led Iraq to fourth place at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Position Name
Head coach Iraq Radhi Shenaishil
Assistant coaches Iraq Rahim Hameed
Iraq Karim Salman
Goalkeeping coach Iraq Suhail Saber
Team manager Iraq Basil Gorgis
Analyzer Iraq Amir Naji
Fitness coach Spain Xavi Pedro
Team doctor Iraq Qasim Mohammed


Current squad[edit]

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Mohammed Gassid (1986-12-10) 10 December 1986 (age 29) 58 0 Iraq Al-Zawraa
1GK Jalal Hassan (1991-05-18) 18 May 1991 (age 25) 29 0 Iraq Naft Al-Wasat
1GK Mohammed Hameed (1993-01-24) 24 January 1993 (age 23) 15 0 Iraq Naft Al-Wasat
1GK Ali Abdul Hassan (1996-09-19) 19 September 1996 (age 20) 0 0 Iraq Al-Talaba

2DF Ahmad Ibrahim (1992-02-25) 25 February 1992 (age 24) 58 1 United Arab Emirates Emirates Club
2DF Ali Adnan (1993-12-19) 19 December 1993 (age 22) 44 3 Italy Udinese
2DF Dhurgham Ismail (1994-05-23) 23 May 1994 (age 22) 38 3 Turkey Rizespor
2DF Waleed Salem (1992-01-05) 5 January 1992 (age 24) 33 1 Iraq Al-Shorta
2DF Hussam Kadhim (1987-10-17) 17 October 1987 (age 29) 16 0 Iraq Al-Naft
2DF Mustafa Nadhim (1993-09-23) 23 September 1993 (age 23) 14 3 Iraq Naft Al-Wasat
2DF Ali Faez (1994-09-09) 9 September 1994 (age 22) 9 0 Turkey Rizespor
2DF Saad Natiq (1994-03-19) 19 March 1994 (age 22) 7 0 Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
2DF Alaa Mhawi (1996-06-03) 3 June 1996 (age 20) 4 0 Iraq Al-Zawraa
2DF Ali Lateef (1996-01-18) 18 January 1996 (age 20) 3 0 Iraq Al-Shorta
2DF Abbas Qasim (1991-01-15) 15 January 1991 (age 25) 1 0 Iraq Al-Zawraa

3MF Saad Abdul-Amir (Vice-captain) (1992-01-19) 19 January 1992 (age 24) 59 2 Saudi Arabia Al-Qadisiyah
3MF Ahmed Yasin (1991-04-22) 22 April 1991 (age 25) 46 4 Sweden AIK
3MF Mahdi Kamel (1995-01-06) 6 January 1995 (age 21) 18 1 Iraq Al-Shorta
3MF Amjad Waleed (1993-11-09) 9 November 1993 (age 22) 5 0 Iraq Al-Shorta
3MF Amjad Attwan (1997-03-12) 12 March 1997 (age 19) 5 0 Iraq Naft Al-Wasat
3MF Bashar Rasan (1996-12-22) 22 December 1996 (age 19) 4 0 Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
3MF Miran Khesro (1989-07-01) 1 July 1989 (age 27) 2 0 Iraq Al-Shorta
3MF Brwa Nouri (1987-01-23) 23 January 1987 (age 29) 0 0 Sweden Östersunds FK
3MF Sattar Yaseen[23][24] 0 0 Iraq Al-Talaba

4FW Alaa Abdul-Zahra Captain sports.svg (1985-12-22) 22 December 1985 (age 30) 96 14 Iraq Al-Zawraa
4FW Mohannad Abdul-Raheem (1993-09-22) 22 September 1993 (age 23) 28 11 United Arab Emirates Al-Nasr
4FW Justin Meram (1988-12-04) 4 December 1988 (age 27) 20 2 United States Columbus Crew
4FW Jassim Mohammed (1984-06-10) 10 June 1984 (age 32) 4 1 Iraq Al-Shorta
4FW Ayman Hussein (1996-03-22) 22 March 1996 (age 20) 2 0 Iraq Al-Naft
4FW Mohammed Jabbar Shokan (1993-03-21) 21 March 1993 (age 23) 3 0 Iraq Al-Minaa

Recent call-ups[edit]

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 Dler Hatem (1984-01-01) 1 January 1984 (age 32) 0 0 Iraq Erbil v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016
GK Fahad Talib (1994-10-21) 21 October 1994 (age 22) 0 0 Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016
GK Noor Sabri (1984-06-18) 18 June 1984 (age 32) 99 0 Iraq Al-Shorta v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016 RET
GK Karrar Ibrahim (1994-09-19) 19 September 1994 (age 22) 0 0 Iraq Al-Minaa v.  Chinese Taipei, 17 November 2015

DF Samal Saeed (1986-01-07) 7 January 1986 (age 30) 69 2 Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya v.  Saudi Arabia, 6 September 2016 WD
DF Karrar Mohammed (1989-03-06) 6 March 1989 (age 27) 2 0 Iraq Al-Zawraa v.  Saudi Arabia, 6 September 2016
DF Essam Yassin (1987-03-11) 11 March 1987 (age 29) 2 0 Iraq Al-Shorta v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016
DF Allan Mohideen (1993-11-11) 11 November 1993 (age 22) 1 0 Sweden Ljungskile SK v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016
DF Bayar Abubakir (1990-05-31) 31 May 1990 (age 26) 1 1 Iraq Duhok v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016
DF Ahmad Nadhim (1996-07-10) 10 July 1996 (age 20) 0 0 Iraq Al-Talaba v.  Uzbekistan, 24 July 2016
DF Ali Rehema (1985-08-08) 8 August 1985 (age 31) 113 2 Qatar Al-Wakrah v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016 RET
DF Salam Shaker (1986-07-31) 31 July 1986 (age 30) 93 4 United Arab Emirates Al-Ittihad v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016 RET
DF Faisal Jassim (1991-10-01) 1 October 1991 (age 25) 3 0 Iraq Al-Shorta v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016
DF Herdi Siamand (1988-01-13) 13 January 1988 (age 28) 1 0 Iraq Erbil v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016

MF Ali Husni (1994-05-23) 23 May 1994 (age 22) 13 1 Iraq Al-Minaa v.  Saudi Arabia, 6 September 2016
MF Ali Abbas (1986-08-30) 30 August 1986 (age 30) 12 0 South Korea Pohang Steelers v.  Saudi Arabia, 6 September 2016
MF Yaser Kasim (1991-05-10) 10 May 1991 (age 25) 18 3 England Swindon Town v.  Australia, 1 September 2016
MF Osama Rashid (1992-01-17) 17 January 1992 (age 24) 15 0 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Plovdiv v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016
MF Hussein Abdul-Wahid Waham (1985-02-08) 8 February 1985 (age 31) 7 0 Iraq Al-Zawraa v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016 RET
MF Mazen Fayad (1997-04-02) 2 April 1997 (age 19) 2 0 Iraq Al-Naft v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016
MF Hussein Abdul-Wahid Khalaf (1993-01-19) 19 January 1993 (age 23) 2 0 Iraq Al-Minaa v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016
MF Wesam Malik (1989-01-01) 1 January 1989 (age 27) 1 0 Iraq Naft Al-Janoob v.  Qatar, 8 August 2016
MF Humam Tariq (1996-02-10) 10 February 1996 (age 20) 33 1 Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016
MF Karrar Jassim (1987-06-11) 11 June 1987 (age 29) 64 6 Iran Tractor Sazi v.  Chinese Taipei, 17 November 2015
MF Ali Qasim (1996-03-05) 5 March 1996 (age 20) 5 1 Iraq Al-Minaa v.  Chinese Taipei, 17 November 2015

FW Hammadi Ahmad (1989-10-18) 18 October 1989 (age 27) 35 6 Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016 WD
FW Marwan Hussein (1992-01-26) 26 January 1992 (age 24) 11 0 Iraq Al-Shorta v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016
FW Younis Mahmoud (1983-03-02) 2 March 1983 (age 33) 148 57 Iraq Al-Talaba v.  Vietnam, 29 March 2016 RET


  • SUS Player suspended
  • INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury
  • RET Retired from the national team
  • WD Player withdrew from the squad for non-injury related reasons [25]

Previous squads[edit]


Most-capped players[edit]

Younis Mahmoud is Iraq's all-time most capped player in international matches, having played in 148 official matches.
As of 29 March 2016[26]
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
4 Adnan Dirjal 116 8 11 December 1978 3 March 1990
5 Nashat Akram 114 17 5 October 2001 4 June 2013
6 Ali Rehema 113 2 8 June 2005 29 March 2016
7 Hawar Mulla Mohammed 112 19 31 August 2001 12 June 2012
8 Mahdi Karim 109 11 12 October 2001 22 December 2014
9 Raad Hammoudi 104 0 8 February 1976 21 February 1987
10 Falah Hassan 103 29 22 July 1970 14 March 1986
Emad Mohammed 27 31 January 2001 28 May 2012

All-time top goalscorers[edit]

Hussein Saeed (right) is Iraq's all-time leading goalscorer in international matches, having scored 78 goals in 137 official matches.
As of 29 March 2016[26]
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 1969–1986 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 Hesham Mohammed 1998–2004 19 43 0.44
Hawar Mulla Mohammed 2001–2012 112 0.17


  • Iraq holds the Asian record for having scored in 27 consecutive matches between 1992 and 1996.[27]
  • Iraq are the only country to qualify to the World Cup without playing a single qualifying game at home.


AFC Competitions[edit]

AFC Asian Cup
Asian Games[b]

WAFF Competitions[edit]

WAFF Championship
West Asian Games

UAFA Competitions[edit]

Arab Nations Cup
Palestine Cup of Nations
Pan Arab Games
  • Gold medal: 1985
  • Silver medal: 1999

GCF Competitions[edit]

Gulf Cup of Nations

Other Competition Wins[edit]

UAE International Cup
International Friendship Cup
  • Champions: 1999
Nehru Cup
Merdeka Tournament
  • Champions: 1981, 1995
Peace and Friendship Cup
Merlion Cup
  • Champions: 1984
Tripoli Fair Tournament
  • Champions: 1967

  1. ^ Iraq's Asian Cup win qualified them for the Afro-Asian Cup of Nations, which was to be a match played in November 2008 against Egypt hosted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, the match was eventually cancelled.
  2. ^ The Asian Games has been part of the Olympic Team's record since 2002; likewise the Olympic Games has been part of the Olympic Team's record since 1992.
  3. ^ No third place match was played; Iraq ranked above Yemen based on overall record in the tournament.
  4. ^ No third place match was played; Iraq ranked above United Arab Emirates based on overall record in the tournament.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Iraqi Football History |Hassanin Mubarak
  2. ^ List of Iraq Honours
  3. ^ Iraq National Team History
  4. ^ Footballers who paid the penalty for failure
  5. ^ On This Day: Agony of Doha
  6. ^ Iraq Results in 1999
  7. ^ Friendship Tournament 1999
  8. ^ Iraq International Matches in 2002
  9. ^ The game that shook a nation: 2007 Gulf Cup |Hassanin Mubarak
  10. ^ Iraq in historic Asian Cup win
  11. ^ Iraqi Football Association suspended
  12. ^ FIFA lifts suspension on Iraq
  13. ^ Brazil legend Zico in line to take over as manager of Iraq
  14. ^ Australia, Japan to go head-to-head following Asian draw
  15. ^ AFC green-light to Arbil as venue
  16. ^ Al-Mutamar Newspapers (Arabic)
  17. ^ "JAKO Blog – JAKO-Team im Irak". Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  18. ^ a b c d Ali Khaled. "Storied Gulf Cup rivalry between Iraq and Kuwait survives war". 
  19. ^ a b Duerden, John. "Asia awaits neighbourly rivalry". ESPN. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Montague, James (13 January 2011). "Pitch Warfare: Iran face Iraq in soccer grudge match". CNN. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c "Iran-Iraq classic rivalry". Iran Daily (4924). 5 November 2014. p. 11. 
  22. ^ "Asian Cup: Iran claims Iraq's Alaa Abdul-Zahra tested positive, lodges complaint about quarter-final result". 25 January 2015. 
  23. ^ معلق قناة الكأس لمدرب المنتخب
  24. ^ مع اللاعب
  25. ^
  26. ^ a b RSSSF (Hassanin Mubarak) (19 May 2016). "Iraq – Record International Players". Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  27. ^ Aussies face tough test

External links[edit]