October this year, Iraq will be playing their second U17 world cup ever. After having a dismal time in the 2013 edition, they will hope for a much-improved performance.
Known as the Lions of Mesopotamia, the boys are coached by Ali Hadi.
Iraq gained Qualification for India 2017 by winning the 2016 AFC U16 Championship, following which they became the only Asian nation to win the Asian Championship at all age levels
Iraq is placed in the group of death at the U17 WC alongside European and South American runners up England and Chile and North American Champions Mexico in group F. The teams will play in the 80000 seaters Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata which has had a 100% ticket sales so far.
They play with a 4-4-2 formation and their style of play involves keeping possession and smooth passing and build up with high pressing, which was most notably used in their semi final victory against Japan in the 2016 U16 CHAMPIONSHIP. Their most preferred form of attack is to use the space behind the opposition defensive line. The team believes in Total Football, with even the strikers quite often dropping down in defense.
Players to watch out for.
All eyes will be on their Lethal striker Mohammad Dawood. The was top scorer at the U16 Championship with 6 goals. Hewas adjudged player of the tournament.
Saif Shayyal, a box to box midfielder is also a key member of the team. He is the one who initiates the long balls to help Dawood find space behind the opposition defense.
With very good teams in this group, it is very difficult to predict who will go through. With top 2 automatically advancing and with 3rd placed team also has a chance. Iraq should consider themselves contenders for going through.