Iraqi soccer team prepare for semis

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:08 IST

Iraq is preparing itself for its biggest sporting challenge since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime.

Iraqi soccer team prepare for semis

Thessaloniki:

Iraq is preparing itself for its biggest sporting challenge since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. On Tuesday night, the country plays Paraguay in the Olympics football semi-finals. Iraq's new soccer coach Adnan Hamad said it was impossible to separate sport from politics in the current Iraq. But, he added, that the team will try their best to make it to the finals. Confidence high Hamed's team won't be short of confidence. This was the side that reached the quarterfinal of the Asian Cup a month ago, and then started their Olympic odyssey with a 4-2 victory over medal contenders Portugal. They guaranteed themselves a place in the quarter-finals by beating Costa Rica 2-0 and secured a place in the semis after a memorable 1-0 triumph over Australia. Their anticipated semi-final against Paraguay will be played at the Kaftanzoglio Stadium in Thessaloniki. Iraq's only previous Olympic medal came at the 1960 Rome Olympiad, when weightlifter Abdul Wahid Aziz won bronze. But the football team could now be on the way to emulating that feat. (AP)

Topics : Football
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