FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Asian champions Iraq announce 21-man squad for big event
What's the story?
The Lions of Mesopotamia have announced their 21 man squad that will travel to India for the U-17 World Cup. Iraq qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup after winning the AFC U-16 Championships which were held in India in 2016. Their journey also included a shock 4-2 win against two-time Asian champions, Japan.
In case you didn't know...
Iraq has only qualified for one FIFA U-17 World Cup (UAE-2013) prior to 2017. However, it was a tournament to forget as they couldn't manage to win a single game in the group stages and got eliminated. 2016 may mark the start of a new era as Iraq won their first AFC U-16 Championship title in their history.
The heart of the matter
Head Qahtan Jathir who made history by leading his side to the Nation's first ever AFC U-16 Championship win in 2016 and will look to strengthen the bond with his players and go all guns blazing for the upcoming U-17 World Cup. The squad he has chosen is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Ali Ibadi (Air Force Athletic Club), Mustafa Zuhair (Naft Al-Wasat SC), Abdulazeez Ammar (Al Shorta SC)
Defenders: Ammar Mohammed (Al Talaba SC), Maytham Jabbar (Al Shola), Muntadher Mohammed (Al Kahraba), Muntadher Abdulsada (Al Hidood), Abdulabbas Ayad (Al Talaba SC), Mohammed Al-Baqer (Al Sina'a FC), Ali Raad (Al Hidood)
Midfielders: Habeeb Mohammed (Al Talaba SC), Saif Khalid (Al Talaba SC), Mohammed Ridha (Al Talaba SC), Abbas Ali (Al Hussein SC), Bassam Shakir (Al Karkh SC), Mohammed Ali (Al Nagda), Moamel Karim (Al Shorta SC), Ahmed Sartip (Gas Al Shemal)
Forwards: Mohammed Dawood (Al Naft SC), Ali Kareem (Baghdad FC), Alaa Adnaan (Al Nagda)
Iraq has been drawn in an extremely tricky Group F which includes CONCACAF Champions Mexico, South American Runners-Up, Chile and Euro Runners-up, England. Iraq will play their opening game against Mexico on the 8th of October at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata at 8 pm IST.
Iraq has a dynamic and energetic squad with most of their plays focusing on one central player and that is Mohammed Dawood. The Iraqi forward scored 6 goals in the AFC tournament which earned him the title of top goalscorer and most valuable player. His tally of six goals also included a crucial hattrick against Japan which helped them progress to the finals and eventually win the tournament.