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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Solid tactics got Iraq their first ever world cup win, says coach Qahtan Jathir

505   //    13 Oct 2017, 00:00 IST

Iraq got their first ever U17 World Cup win against Mexico.
Iraq got their first ever U17 World Cup win against Mexico.

Iraq registered their first ever FIFA U17 World Cup win after gaining their maiden World Cup point, and they did all in India.

The Iraqi team had come to India to participate in this ongoing U17 World Cup by getting the better of Iran in U-16 AFC. But they had the dubious distinction of not only losing all their three matches but conceding twelve goals in the process.

Iraqi coach Qahtan Jathir had insisted that they are going to write a more favourable history of Iraq in India. So far, the going has been great and he fell back on his countrymen to mark his historical win by saying, “I would like to congratulate the Iraqi people. Chile are a strong side. We played very well against Mexico and this match as well. We are Asian U-16 champions and played very well there as well. We knew Chile's strengths and weakness matches and we used that to our effect.”

Though the team has been together for 2-3 years, they couldn’t get the benefit of a much needed European exposure due to economic hardships. It only means that the Qahtan has to get his lads to play a highly tactical game.

He confirmed that by saying, “We have been working with tactics a lot as tactics are very important in modern day football, even with the U-17 team. As you saw against Mexico, we played long balls behind the defenders using the speed of Mohammed Dawood. In this match, we played short passes and this strategy has been achieved by training and now it was in the match.”

But all said and done, his players must execute or all efforts will be null and void. Jathir acknowledged it when he said, “The important thing is that the players know their duties." 

On the other hand, neither the Chilean coach’s strategy nor the executions of it by his players are working at all. Hernan Caputto, the Chilean coach said, “It is really difficult. I don’t understand what’s happening at this point. Whatever be it, the main responsibilities are on my shoulders. Both matches were well lost. There was no further discussion of the loss. It is disappointing.”

All is not lost though, if Caputto is to be believed. Summoning up hope from the deepest end, he reminded us that, “They are looking forward to the next match. Even though they have conceded seven goals, he knows there has been a historical case where a team has gone on to win their third match, collected the full three points and have gone into the second round. So they will focus on the next match and we will keep on going further.”

Jathir wanted to have a positive result in the Chile encounter so that he is well-placed in the group before facing England.


England scored four-times against Chile, and were it not for the star forward, Mahmood Dawood's penalty botch up, Iraq would have won by the same score-line. In effect one can say that both the team are on even keel.

The match to be played out on October 17 at the Salt lake Stadium is bound to be a mouth-watering affair.