Friday, August 20, 2004

Iraq vs Australia

Johannesburg, by Maithem Al- Anbari

Iraqi team, the 'dark horse' in the Olympic's football tournament will start the second round of their advanture by playing against Australia in the semi-final tomorrow.

The football team of war-torn Iraq have qualified to this round as top of group 'D' after beating Portugal 4-2 and Costa rica 2-0; but they lost their last match to Morroco 1-2.

"We played the last match with B-team. We qualified and this match would not affect this qualification, The idea was to avoid any injury or cards for any of our players", Adnan Hamad, Iraqi team couch told reporters yesterday.

Talking about the circumstances in Iraq and the importance of these wins for the Iraqi People, Hamad said "We're delighted by the victories because we know what it means to our people." For his part, Iraqi player Hawar Mulla Mohahmmed said "Our success here has been very important for our people and our country because we are facing so many difficulties," adding that "We had no facilities to train for very long periods but we managed to qualify for the next stage of the Olympics. I am very happy with this achievement but we were expecting to arrive at this stage. It is a team accomplishment under a good coach."

Australia qualified after obtaining 4 points from its three matchs (1-1 with Tunisia, 5-1 on Serbia and Montenegro and they lost 0-1 to Argentina.

Iraqi and Australian teams did not meet each other in the football competition of the Olympics. They played against each other twice before in 1973 in Australia during the World Cup preliminary qualifications. Both matchs were in Australia; first one was on 11-Mar-73 in which Australia won 3:1 and the second match was on Mar18 but the result was 0:0.

Semi final round of the Football competitions in the Olympic Games will start. Matches schedule will be (Mali vs Italy), (Argentina vs Costa Rica), (Iraq vs Australia) and (Paraguay vs S. Korea).