Iraq happy with maiden point in FIFA U17 World Cup history
When Mexico coach Mario Arteaga said, “Iraq is the most complete team in our group", talking about FIFA U17 World Cup Group F, which also comprises England and Chile, it took a roomful of people by surprise.
However, when Iraq drew the opening salvo against the much fancied and bonafide contender of this edition of the World Cup, Mexico, it was now the turn for a stadium full of people, approximately amounting to 55,000 on a rain-suffused pleasant Sunday night, to jack their eyebrows deep into their foreheads.
For most of the crowd who came to witness a World Cup match, the outcome, apparently was a foregone conclusion. But if any city appreciates a good game, it is no doubt this city. Soon after the goal – a blazing solo run by Iraq's rising star Mohammed Dawood, who was also the highest scorer in the last U16 AFC Asian Cup netting in six goals, propelling Iraq to triumph over their perennial rivals, Iran, in the sixteenth minute, they began to draw sympathy from the charged-up spectators.
The way Iraqi footballers, especially Dawood held a sway over the Mexicans, more so in the first half, cutting through the high line, visiting the opponents' backyards almost at will and coming within a hand-shaking distance of the custodian, it was unbelievable that there weren't a few more against their name in the score sheet.
However, their own primary support line was straggling behind. With a tinge of disappointment lining his voice, Qathan Al-Rubaye Jattar said, "We wished to have converted our chances in the first half. We tried to score more. In the second half two player got injured and Mexico went on the attack. I am happy with the one point. It is our first World Cup point (in the U17 category)."
Discussing his strategy against the Mexico team, he seemed pleased in saying, "Our idea was to stop them in the flanks and we have been successful in doing that".
In this match, they had their captain, listed as a substitute. Allaying fears, Qahtan Chathir, said, "It is not due to any injury that he was not in the starting line-up.Each player has their own duty. We are focusing more on each match"
On their chances of facing their next opponents Chile on October 11 at Salt Lake Stadium, Chathir noted, "Chile is not an easy side. They have good players. They are physically strong and also play with good tactics. We will play them as a strong team."
Chathir takes every opportunity he gets, to remind people that his side has wn the AFC Cup U16. In this competition, they will be trying to erase their past image of loosing all the three matches in their previous U-17 appearance. By the looks of the first match,they are well on their way.