Iraq national football team

Last updated

Iraq National Football Team Shirt Badge.png
Nickname(s) Usood Al-Rafidain
(Lions of Mesopotamia)
Association Iraq Football Association
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation WAFF (West Asia)
Head coach Srečko Katanec
Captain Jalal Hassan
Most caps Younis Mahmoud (148)
Top scorer Hussein Saeed (78)
Home stadium Basra International Stadium
Kit left arm irq1516h.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body irq1516h.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm irq1516h.png
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks long.svg
First colours
Kit left arm irq1819a.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body irq1819a.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm irq1819a.png
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts irq1516a.png
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks irq1516a.png
Kit socks long.svg
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 77 Steady2.svg(25 July 2019) [1]
Highest39 (6 October 2004)
Lowest139 (3 July 1996)
Elo ranking
Current 66 Steady2.svg(9 September 2019) [2]
Highest22 (3 December 1982)
Lowest95 (6 October 2016)
First international
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco 3–3 IraqFlag of Iraq (1924-1959).svg
(Beirut, Lebanon; 19 October 1957)
Biggest win
Flag of Iraq (1991-2004).svgIraq 13–0 Ethiopia Flag of Ethiopia (1991-1996).svg
(Irbid, Jordan; 18 August 1992)
Biggest defeat
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 7–1 IraqFlag of Iraq (1959-1963).svg
(Adana, Turkey; 6 December 1959)
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 6–0 IraqFlag of Iraq.svg
(Malmö, Sweden; 11 October 2012)
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 6–0 IraqFlag of Iraq.svg
(Copenhagen, Denmark; 14 August 2013)
World Cup
Appearances1 (first in 1986 )
Best resultGroup stage, 1986
Asian Cup
Appearances9 (first in 1972 )
Best resultChampions, 2007
Confederations Cup
Appearances1 (first in 2009)
Best resultGroup stage, 2009

The Iraq national football team (Arabic : المنتخب العراقي لكرة القدم) represents Iraq in international football and is controlled by the Iraq Football Association (IFA), the governing body for football in Iraq. Most of Iraq's home matches are played at the Basra International Stadium. Iraq is one of only eight current AFC nations to have been crowned AFC Asian Cup champions.

Iraq Republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Iraq Football Association

The Iraq Football Association is the governing body of football in Iraq, controlling the Iraqi national team and the Iraqi Premier League. The Iraqi Football Association was founded in 1948 and has been a member of FIFA since 1950, the Asian Football Confederation since 1970, and the Sub-confederation regional body West Asian Football Federation since 2000. Iraq also is part of the Union of Arab Football Associations and has been a member since 1974. The Iraqi team is commonly known as Usood Al-Rafidain, which literally meaning Lions of Mesopotamia.


Iraq has made one FIFA World Cup appearance, in 1986 in Mexico, but lost all three of their games to Paraguay, Belgium and the hosts. The 2007 AFC Asian Cup marked a high point in Iraq's football history when they were crowned champions against all the odds. Iraq defeated some of the favourites in the competition including Australia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Their triumph also qualified them for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

FIFA World Cup Association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

1986 FIFA World Cup 1986 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June 1986. The tournament was the second to feature a 24-team format. With European nations not allowed to host after the previous World Cup in Spain, Colombia had been originally chosen to host the competition by FIFA but, largely due to economic reasons, was not able to do so and officially resigned in 1982. Mexico was selected as the new host in May 1983, thus becoming the first country to host the World Cup more than once. This was the third FIFA World Cup tournament in succession that was hosted by a Spanish-speaking country, after Argentina 1978, and Spain 1982.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometers (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fourth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 129 million people, Mexico is the tenth most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states plus Mexico City (CDMX), which is the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the country include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, and León.

In the decade after the 2007 victory, Iraq finished fourth at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. The team reached an all-time high of 39th in the FIFA World Rankings in October 2004.

The knockout stage of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup was the second and final stage of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, following the group stage. It was played on 22 to 31 January, began with the quarter-finals and ended with the final match of the tournament, held at Stadium Australia, Sydney. The top two teams from each group advanced to the knockout stage to compete in a single-elimination tournament. A third-place match was played between the two losing teams of the semi-finals. Australia won the trophy after defeating South Korea in the final.

FIFA World Rankings world ranking list

The men's FIFA World Ranking is a ranking system for men's national teams in association football, currently led by Belgium. The teams of the men's member nations of FIFA, football's world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest. The rankings were introduced in December 1992, and eight teams have held the top position, of which Brazil have spent the longest ranked first.


Early years

As early as 1923, an Iraqi team known as Baghdad XI, controlled by the Baghdad Football Association, started to play matches against British Army teams. [3] The Baghdad FA soon disbanded and it was not until 8 October 1948 that the Iraq Football Association was founded. The Iraq FA joined FIFA in 1950 and on 2 May 1951, Iraq played their first match: a 1–1 draw to a team named Basra XI. [3]

Iraq's first ever official international game came in the opening game of the 1957 Pan Arab Games in Beirut where Iraq drew 3–3 to Morocco with goals from Ammo Baba, Youra Eshaya and Fakhri Mohammed Salman. [3] . One of the members of Iraq’s first national team was Youra Eshaya, who in 1954 became the first Iraqi footballer to play abroad and in Europe for English Football League side Bristol Rovers.

The Pan Arab Games are a regional multi-sport event held between nations from the Arab world. A men's football tournament has been held at every session of the Games since 1953, except for 2004.

Beirut City in Lebanon

Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. No recent population census has been conducted, but 2007 estimates ranged from slightly more than 1 million to 2.2 million as part of Greater Beirut. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coast, Beirut is the country's largest and main seaport.

Morocco national football team mens national association football team representing Morocco

The Morocco national football team, nicknamed "The Atlas Lions", is the national team of Morocco.has represented Morocco in international men's football competition since 1955. It is governed by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), the governing body for football in Morocco.

In 1962, Iraq appointed their first foreign manager, Romanian coach Cornel Drăgușin. Iraq won their first trophy in 1964 when they hosted and won the Arab Nations Cup, winning three and drawing one of their four games. The following year, they retained their Arab Nations Cup title, beating Syria 2–1 in the final. [3]

Romania Sovereign state in Europe

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

Cornel Drăguşin is a retired Romanian football manager who coached the national teams of Iraq, Syria and Romania. He was director of the Romanian FA coaching school from 1990 to 2002, until being replaced by Mircea Rădulescu.

The 1964 Arab Nations Cup is the second edition of the Arab Nations Cup hosted by Kuwait. In Iraq's first appearance, they won the title for the 1st time.


In 1972, Iraq played at their first ever AFC Asian Cup but failed to win a game in the tournament. In March 1973, Iraq played their first ever FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. They finished second in their group, a point behind Australia, therefore failing to qualify for the next round. In the remaining years of the 1970s, Iraq reached the second round of the Asian Games (1974), lost the Arabian Gulf Cup final (1976), finished fourth at the AFC Asian Cup (1976), finished fourth in the Asian Games (1978) and finally hosted and won the Arabian Gulf Cup (1979). [4] The 1976 Asian Cup would be the last Asian Cup that Iraq appeared in for the next 20 years, as they withdrew from the next four editions.

1980s – The Golden Era

The 1980s was arguably Iraq's most successful period in their history. They started the decade off disappointingly, being knocked out in the first round of qualifiers for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. In 1982, they won the gold medal at the 1982 Asian Games. In 1984, Iraq won the Arabian Gulf Cup. The following year, they won the 1985 Arab Nations Cup and also won the gold medal at the 1985 Pan Arab Games.

1986 FIFA World Cup

Iraq were seeded into the first round of qualifiers where they faced Qatar and Jordan. Iraq topped Group 1B with 6 points, and advanced to the second round. Iraq faced United Arab Emirates in two legs. Iraq defeated UAE 3–2 in Dubai. Iraq lost with 2–1 to UAE in the second leg. Iraq won 4–4 aggregate on away goals and advanced to the final round. In the final round, Iraq tied Syria 0–0 in Damascus. Iraq defeated Syria 3–1 in the second leg in Taif. Iraq won 3–1 on aggregate and qualified to the 1986 FIFA World Cup

At their first game of the Group B at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Iraq played well against Paraguay, losing narrowly 1–0 despite scoring a goal that was wrongly disallowed by the referee. Iraq recorded their first World Cup goal in the second game, scoring against Belgium in a 1–2 defeat despite having ten men, with Ahmed Radhi scoring a goal for Iraq. Following defeat with Belgium, Iraq were eliminated from the World Cup. Iraq played against hosts Mexico in the third game and lost 1–0.

In the following years, Iraq won the 1988 Arabian Gulf Cup and won the 1988 Arab Nations Cup. Overall, Iraq won nine competitions in the 1980s and played in their only World Cup, leading many to believe that this was the golden era of Iraqi football. In 1989, Iraq competed in qualifying for a berth in the 1990 World Cup finals, but they lost a crucial game against Qatar.

1990s – The Dark Era

Following the Gulf War in 1990, Iraq was banned from participating in the Asian Games and in most Arab competitions, leading them to participate in friendly competitions instead.

In 1993, Iraq participated in qualifiers for the 1994 FIFA World Cup and reached the final round but finished fourth in the group, missing out on a World Cup spot by two points. By drawing their last game with Japan 2–2, they denied the Japanese a place in the finals in a match referred to by the Japanese media as the Agony of Doha. [5]

Iraq participated in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup, their first Asian Cup campaign for 20 years. They reached the quarter-finals but lost to the United Arab Emirates thanks to a golden goal scored by Abdulrahman Ibrahim. In 1996, Iraq was ranked 139th in the world, which is their worst FIFA ranking in their history.

In 1997, Iraq participated in qualifiers for the 1998 FIFA World Cup but were knocked out at the first round following two defeats to Kazakhstan.

This period is known as 'The Dark Era' as Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam Hussein, abused his control of Iraqi football and tortured players who played poorly, punishing them by sending them to prison, making them bathe in raw sewage and kick concrete balls, and shaving their heads among many other awful punishments. [6] [7]

2000s – Champions of Asia

Iraq played in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup but were knocked out at the quarter-final stage again, this time by Japan in a 4–1 loss. Iraq reached the second round of 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification but lost five of their eight second-round games and therefore failed to make the finals. Iraq won their first ever WAFF Championship in 2002, beating Jordan 3–2 in the final after extra time despite being two goals down.

In 2004, reached the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup. In the same year they were knocked out at the second round of 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Iraq were ranked as high as 39th in the World Rankings in October 2004 which is their highest ranking position in their history. The following year, Iraq won the gold medal in the West Asian Games by beating Syria in the final via a penalty shootout. In 2007, Iraq were knocked out at the group stage of the Arabian Gulf Cup. The exit from the Gulf Cup happened in very controversial circumstances as Iraq attempted to make an agreement with Saudi Arabia to draw the final game which would put both teams through to the next round; the Iraq manager Akram Salman told the Iraqi players not to win the game but the Saudi Arabian players were unaware of any agreement and went on to win the game and knock Iraq out of the cup. [8] Akram Salman was sacked and Jorvan Vieira appointed as head coach. Under him, Iraq reached the final of the WAFF Championship but lost 2–1 to Iran.

2007 AFC Asian Cup

Iraq playing against Australia in Group A of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup; Iraq won the game 3-1 on their way to winning the cup. Asian Cup Australia-Iraq II.jpg
Iraq playing against Australia in Group A of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup; Iraq won the game 3–1 on their way to winning the cup.

In July 2007, Iraq kicked off their 2007 AFC Asian Cup campaign. The squad was made mainly of players that had finished fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games and finished second at the 2006 Asian Games. Vieira only had two months to prepare his team for the tournament, and the team suffered from very poor facilities. The Iraq FA struggled to provide the team with enough kits for the tournament and Iraq had not been able to play any previous games in their own country for security reasons and most of the players had had family members killed in the war.

The team started the tournament with a 1–1 draw against joint-hosts Thailand before producing one of the upsets of the tournament: a 3–1 win over favourites Australia. A draw with Oman followed to put Iraq into the quarter-finals where two goals from Younis Mahmoud against Vietnam put Iraq into the semi-finals for the second time in their history. They produced another big upset by knocking out Asian giants South Korea (who had thrashed Iraq 3–0 in a pre-tournament friendly) in the semis via a penalty shootout in which Noor Sabri made a crucial save. After the game, a suicide bomber killed 30 football fans who were celebrating the semi-final win over South Korea and this almost led to the Iraqi team withdrawing from the final, but they decided to go on in honour of the dead and produced yet another upset by defeating Saudi Arabia 1–0 in the final, a game that they dominated from start to finish and that was won by a Younis Mahmoud header. This tournament win is seen as one of the greatest upsets in international history as a war-torn country became international champions in what is described as one of sport's greatest 'fairytales'. [9] [10]

Vieira stated during the final that he would resign after the Asian Cup. [11] . He was replaced by Egil Olsen in September 2007. [12] . Under Olsen, Iraq advanced to the third round, but after a 1-1 draw with China, the FA sacked Olsen and replaced him with Adnan Hamad. [13] Iraq failed to advance to the final round of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as a 1–0 defeat to Qatar saw them finish in third in the group. Following this, the Iraq FA decided to disband the team and sacked Hamad. [14]

Jorvan Vieira was reappointed in September 2008. After a disappointing 2009 Arabian Gulf Cup, Vieira was sacked and replaced by Bora Milutinovic. [15]

2009 FIFA Confederations Cup

A few months later, Iraq participated in only their second FIFA tournament ever: the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, which they qualified for by winning the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. They started the tournament with a 0–0 draw with hosts South Africa, before losing to UEFA Euro 2008 winners Spain one goal to nil. Iraq drew the last game 0–0 with New Zealand and were knocked out.

On 20 November 2009, the FIFA Emergency Committee suspended the Iraq FA due to government interference; [16] the suspension was lifted on 19 March 2010. [17]

2010s – Ups and downs

The Iraqi national team pose ahead of their 2019 AFC Asian Cup match against Iran in Dubai. IRN-IRQ 20190116 Asian Cup 24.jpg
The Iraqi national team pose ahead of their 2019 AFC Asian Cup match against Iran in Dubai.

Wolfgang Sidka was appointed coach in August 2010. [18] .

For 2011 AFC Asian Cup, Iraq were drawn against Iran, North Korea and United Arab Emirates in Group D. After a 2–1 loss against Iran, and 1–0 win against United Arab Emirates, Iraq went into the match against North Korea needing only a draw to progress. Iraq won 1–0 and advanced to the quarterfinals as runners-up. On 23 January, Iraq lost to Australia, 1–0, in the quarterfinal. The match went into extra time with Harry Kewell heading in a goal in the 117th minute just inside the 18-yard box.

In the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, Iraq faced Yemen in the second round and defeated them 2–0 on aggregate . Iraq advanced to the third round but Sidka's contract was not renewed and he was succeeded by Zico in August 2011. Iraq topped the group in the third round, winning 5 of 6 games. However, halfway through the fourth round, Iraq only had 5 points and Zico resigned due to unpaid wages. [19] . Hakeem Shaker took over as interim coach and lost the finals of both the 2012 WAFF Championship and 2013 Arabian Gulf Cup. In February 2013, Vladimir Petrovic was appointed for the remaining World Cup qualifiers, but lost all three matches and Iraq finished bottom of their group. Petrovic was sacked in September 2013 and Hakeem Shaker was reappointed. [20]

After two consecutive losses to Saudi Arabia, Iraq was in danger of missing out on the Asian Cup. On the last matchday, Iraq qualified for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup by beating China 3-1. However, Iraq finished bottom of the group in the 2014 Arabian Gulf Cup leading to the sacking of Hakeem Shaker and the appointment of Radhi Shenaishil.

Iraq began the 2015 AFC Asian Cup campaign with a 1–0 win over Jordan. In the next match, Iraq faced Japan and lost the match 0–1. Iraq then beat Palestine 2–0 and qualified to knockout stage as the Group D runner-up behind Japan with six points. Iraq defeated Iran in the quarter-finals in penalties, 7–6, after the game ended 3–3 after 120 minutes of play. They faced South Korea in the semi-finals but lost 0–2 and failed to progress to the final. Iraq finished the AFC Asian Cup in fourth place, after losing 2–3 to United Arab Emirates in third/fourth place play-off. After the tournament, Shenaishil returned to managing Qatar SC and Iraq appointed Akram Salman as manager but he was sacked in June 2015 after losing 4–0 to Japan in a friendly match.

Yahya Alwan was appointed in August 2015. Due to poor performances, Abdul-Ghani Shahad replaced him as interim coach for the final qualifier in March 2016. Shahad led Iraq to qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and the final round. Radhi Shenaishil was appointed to lead Iraq in the final round. After losing five of their first seven games, Iraq were eliminated and Shenaishil was sacked. [21] . Basim Qasim was appointed in May 2017 to lead Iraq for the remaining qualifiers. The FA decided not to renew his contract in August 2018.

On 3 September 2018, Srečko Katanec was appointed as head coach on a three-year contract. [22] Under Katanec, Iraq reached the round of 16 of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup as they lost to eventual champions Qatar by one goal. [23]

Team image

Previous kit colours

Kit manufacturer

The Iraqi national football team kit has previously been manufactured by brands such as Adidas, Puma, Nike, Diadora, Jack & Jones, Lotto, Umbro and Peak and its current manufacturer is Jako. [24]

PeriodKit manufacturer
1984–1986Flag of England.svg Umbro
1986–1994Flag of Germany.svg Adidas
1996Flag of Germany.svg Puma
2000Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Patrick
2003–2004Flag of Germany.svg Jako
2004–2006Flag of Denmark.svg Jack & Jones
2006Flag of Italy.svg Diadora
2006Flag of Italy.svg Lotto
2007Flag of Germany.svg Adidas
2007Flag of England.svg Umbro
2008–2014Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Peak
2014Flag of Germany.svg Adidas
2014–2019Flag of Germany.svg Jako
2019–Flag of Italy.svg Givova

Unlike most other national teams, Iraq kits usually have the country's flag on them rather than the Football Association's logo, although the FA's logo has appeared on kits before, most recently from 2014–2015. However, in some cases both the flag and the FA's logo have not featured on the kit and have been replaced with other logos. From 1985–1986, the coat of arms of Iraq featured in the centre of the kit (occasionally only the part of the logo containing the flag was used), [25] meanwhile from 2000–2002, Iraq mainly used a logo that featured the vertical black, white and red bands of the Iraq flag underneath the name Iraq written in Arabic in green text. In the 2005 West Asian Games, a logo featuring black and white bands underneath a red semicircle featured on the kit with the three stars of the flag shown in the white band. [26] In the 2007 WAFF Championship and part of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, Iraq reverted to using the logo that they had used from 2000–2002.



Iraq has a strong football rivalry with Iran. In contemporary era, especially during the reign of Saddam Hussein, the two countries had bad relations and fought the Iran–Iraq War for 8 years. [27] [28] Iraq has played 28 matches against Iran with 5 victories, 7 draws, and 16 losses.

Saudi Arabia

Iraq and Saudi Arabia are often considered to be the two greatest Arab football teams in the Middle East and Asia. The beginnings of the footballing rivalry between them dates back to the 1970s, but it was only after the 1990s that the great rivalry between two Arab nations truly developed since it was previously overshadowed by Iraq's rivalries with Iran and Kuwait. [29] . Iraq has played 33 matches against Saudi Arabia with 16 victories, 8 draws, and 10 losses.


Iraq's rivalry with Kuwait is considered as the Arab world's greatest football rivalry of all time. [30] The rivalry began in the mid-1970s. Because of the Gulf War, Iraq and Kuwait were in complete avoidance and never met for more than a decade; Iraq has played 32 matches against Kuwait with 15 victories, 9 draws, and 8 losses.


Iraqi fans celebrating Iraq winning the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. Iraq national football team wins Asia Cup (Edgeware Road).jpg
Iraqi fans celebrating Iraq winning the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.

Iraq national team supporters are known for chanting "O Victorious Baghdad" during the Iraqi team's matches.

Another famous chant is "the first goal is coming" ("هسه يجي الاول") which is chanted in the beginning of the match. A succeeding chant is "the second goal is coming" ("هسه يجي الثاني"); this is usually chanted repeatedly after Iraq score a goal to motivate the players to score another.

Home matches in Iraq

Basra International Stadium during the second opening friendly match between Al-Zawraa and Zamalek in 2013. Basra International Stadium Opening.JPG
Basra International Stadium during the second opening friendly match between Al-Zawraa and Zamalek in 2013.

Since 1980, FIFA imposed bans on six occasions that prevented Iraq from hosting competitive international games.

The first ban was imposed in 1980 after an Olympic qualifying play-off between Iraq and Kuwait in Baghdad, where the match referee was attacked by enraged home fans and members of the Iraqi team after the Malaysian official’s decision to award a match changing penalty to the Kuwaitis that led to Iraq losing 3–2. The ban was lifted in 1982. [31]

Around the same time, the Iran–Iraq War started. Although this prevented Iraq from playing their qualifying home games, they still qualified for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and three Olympic Games (Moscow, Los Angeles and Seoul). The ban was lifted in 1988, when the Iran–Iraq War ended.

Due to the Gulf War, FIFA banned Iraq again from 1990 till 1995. Iraq played at home at the 1998 World Cup qualifiers against Pakistan and Kazakhstan for the first time since 1990.

Iraq played the 2002 World Cup qualifiers at home against Iran (first time since the Iraq-Iran War) Bahrain, and Thailand in the Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad. Saudi Arabia refused to play in Iraq because of the tensions with Saddam Hussein.

The Iraq War in 2003 forced Iraq to play their home matches outside the country for security reasons, and so home games were held in Jordan, Iran, Qatar or the UAE.

Iraq resumed playing on home soil on 10 July 2009, winning a friendly 3–0 against Palestine in Erbil. Iraq played the same opponents three days later, in Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad, this time winning 4–0 in front of a crowd of over 50,000. The same month, the AFC Executive Committee approved the Franso Hariri Stadium as venue for international matches and clubs in continental tournaments. [32]

On 23 July 2011, Iraq played a FIFA World Cup qualifier on home ground for the first time since 2001. They played against Yemen in front of a crowd of 20,000 people in the Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil. However, on 23 September 2011, FIFA re-imposed the ban due to fears over security and a breach of safety regulations in the match with Jordan.

Two years later, on 22 March 2013, FIFA lifted the ban on international friendlies in Iraqi stadiums. Four days later, Iraq played their first international friendly match in Baghdad since 2009 against Syria in front of a crowd of over 50,000 people in the Al-Shaab Stadium and won the game 2–1. Two months later, they played another friendly at the Al-Shaab Stadium, this time against Liberia. On 3 July 2013, FIFA re-imposed the ban due to a massive surge in nationwide violence, barely three months after world football's governing body gave Baghdad the go-ahead.

On 9 May 2017, FIFA lifted the ban partially on international friendlies in the cities of Basra, Karbala, and Erbil. Iraq played their first ever international game in Basra on 1 June 2017, beating Jordan 1–0. After successfully hosting friendlies, on 16 March 2018, FIFA announced the lifting of the ban on competitive matches in the three cities. [33]

Competition records

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

FIFA World Cup

AFC Asian Cup

Regional competitions

Former senior competitions

Team records

Head-to-head record

  Positive balance
  Neutral balance
  Negative balance

The list shown below shows the Iraq national football team all-time international record against opposing nations.

As of 9 September 2019counted for the FIFA A-level matches only.

FIFA rankings

Below is a chart of Iraq's FIFA ranking from 1993 till now. [34]

Iraq national football team

Recent results and fixtures

  Win  Draw  Loss [35]



15 October 2019 2022 WCQ Cambodia  Flag of Cambodia.svgvFlag of Iraq.svg  Iraq Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh
14 November 2019 2022 WCQ Iraq  Flag of Iraq.svgvFlag of Iran.svg  Iran Basra International Stadium, Basra


9 June 2020 2022 WCQ Iran  Flag of Iran.svgvFlag of Iraq.svg  Iraq Azadi Stadium, Tehran

Coaching staff

Srecko Katanec is the manager of Iraq. Pre-Iran Iraq press conference 20190115 06.jpg
Srečko Katanec is the manager of Iraq.
Head coachFlag of Slovenia.svg Srečko Katanec
Assistant coachFlag of Slovenia.svg Vlado Radmanović
Flag of Slovenia.svg Aleš Čeh
Flag of Iraq.svg Rahim Hameed
Goalkeeping coachFlag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Nihad Pejković
Fitness coachFlag of Spain.svg Xavi Pedro
Team managerFlag of Iraq.svg Basil Gorgis
Team doctorFlag of Iraq.svg Qasim Mohammed


Current squad

No.Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
1 GK Mohammed Hameed (1993-01-24) 24 January 1993 (age 26)290 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta
1 GK Mohammed Saleh (1994-05-26) 26 May 1994 (age 25)00 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya

2 DF Ahmad Ibrahim (1992-02-25) 25 February 1992 (age 27)923 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
2 DF Dhurgham Ismail (1994-05-24) 24 May 1994 (age 25)493 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta
2 DF Alaa Mhawi (1996-06-03) 3 June 1996 (age 23)320 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta
2 DF Saad Natiq (1994-03-19) 19 March 1994 (age 25)210 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta
2 DF Rebin Sulaka (1992-04-12) 12 April 1992 (age 27)210 Flag of Serbia.svg Radnički Niš
2 DF Mustafa Mohammed (1998-01-14) 14 January 1998 (age 21)70 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa
2 DF Maitham Jabbar (2000-11-10) 10 November 2000 (age 18)40 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
2 DF Najm Shwan (1997-07-09) 9 July 1997 (age 22)20 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa

3 MF Humam Tariq (1996-02-10) 10 February 1996 (age 23)603 Flag of Egypt.svg Ismaily
3 MF Mahdi Kamel (1995-01-06) 6 January 1995 (age 24)523 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa
3 MF Amjad Attwan (1997-03-12) 12 March 1997 (age 22)400 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta
3 MF Bashar Resan (1996-12-22) 22 December 1996 (age 22)282 Flag of Iran.svg Persepolis
3 MF Osama Rashid (1992-01-17) 17 January 1992 (age 27)240 Flag of Portugal.svg Santa Clara
3 MF Safaa Hadi (1998-10-14) 14 October 1998 (age 20)190 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta

4 FW Mohannad Abdul-Raheem (1993-09-22) 22 September 1993 (age 25)4811 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa
4 FW Ayman Hussein (1996-03-22) 22 March 1996 (age 23)302 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
4 FW Mohanad Ali (2000-06-20) 20 June 2000 (age 19)2010 Flag of Qatar.svg Al-Duhail
4 FW Alaa Abbas (1997-07-27) 27 July 1997 (age 22)121 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa

Recent call-ups

The following players have also been called up to the Iraq squad within the last 12 months.

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
GK Ali Kadhim (1997-10-24) 24 October 1997 (age 21)00 Flag of Iraq.svg Naft Al-Wasat v. Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain , 5 September 2019
GK Jalal Hassan INJ (1991-05-18) 18 May 1991 (age 28)490 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa 2019 WAFF Championship
GK Mohammed Gassid SUS (1986-12-10) 10 December 1986 (age 32)690 Unattached 2019 AFC Asian Cup
GK Fahad Talib (1994-10-21) 21 October 1994 (age 24)30 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa v. Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia , 15 October 2018

DF Ali Adnan (1993-09-19) 19 September 1993 (age 25)674 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Vancouver Whitecaps FC v. Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain , 5 September 2019
DF Sameh Saeed (1992-05-26) 26 May 1992 (age 27)150 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 2019 WAFF Championship
DF Uday Shehab (1997-06-14) 14 June 1997 (age 22)10 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya v. Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia , 7 June 2019
DF Hussam Kadhim (1987-10-17) 17 October 1987 (age 31)240 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta v. Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan , 26 March 2019
DF Waleed Salim (1992-01-05) 5 January 1992 (age 27)491 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta 2019 AFC Asian Cup
DF Ali Faez (1994-09-09) 9 September 1994 (age 25)253 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Shorta 2019 AFC Asian Cup
DF Frans Dhia Putros INJ (1993-07-14) 14 July 1993 (age 26)40 Flag of Denmark.svg Hobro IK 2019 AFC Asian Cup
DF Ahmed Abdul-Ridha (1997-04-02) 2 April 1997 (age 22)40 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Naft v. Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China PR , 24 December 2018
DF Raad Fanar (1997-03-25) 25 March 1997 (age 22)31 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Naft v. Flag of Bolivia (state).svg  Bolivia , 20 November 2018
DF Mustafa Nadhim (1993-09-23) 23 September 1993 (age 25)284 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa v. Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia , 15 October 2018

MF Ahmed Yasin (1991-04-22) 22 April 1991 (age 28)646 Flag of Sweden.svg Häcken v. Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain , 5 September 2019
MF Justin Meram (1988-12-04) 4 December 1988 (age 30)334 Flag of the United States.svg Atlanta United v. Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain , 5 September 2019
MF Hussein Ali INJ (1996-11-29) 29 November 1996 (age 22)324 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa v. Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain , 5 September 2019
MF Mazin Fayyadh (1997-04-02) 2 April 1997 (age 22)121 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Naft 2019 WAFF Championship
MF Ibrahim Bayesh (2000-05-01) 1 May 2000 (age 19)61 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 2019 WAFF Championship
MF Mohammed Qasim (1996-12-06) 6 December 1996 (age 22)30 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 2019 WAFF Championship
MF Karrar Nabeel (1998-01-16) 16 January 1998 (age 21)30 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 2019 WAFF Championship
MF Ahmed Jalal INJ (1998-03-17) 17 March 1998 (age 21)30 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Zawraa v. Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan , 26 March 2019
MF Ali Husni INJ (1994-05-23) 23 May 1994 (age 25)263 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 2019 AFC Asian Cup, January 2019
MF Brwa Nouri RET (1987-01-23) 23 January 1987 (age 32)91 Flag of Indonesia.svg Bali United v. Flag of Bolivia (state).svg  Bolivia , 20 November 2018

FW Mohammed Dawood INJ (2000-11-22) 22 November 2000 (age 18)50 Flag of Iraq.svg Al-Naft 2019 AFC Asian Cup
FW Wissam Saadoun (1990-07-01) 1 July 1990 (age 29)10 Flag of Iraq.svg Naft Maysan v. Flag of Bolivia (state).svg  Bolivia , 20 November 2018

SUS Player suspended
INJ Player injured
RET Player retired from the national team
WD Player withdrew for non-injury related reasons

Previous squads


Most-capped players

Younis Mahmoud is Iraq's all-time most capped player in international matches, having played in 148 official games. Younis Mahmoud 2011.jpg
Younis Mahmoud is Iraq's all-time most capped player in international matches, having played in 148 official games.
As of 28 February 2018 [36]
Players in bold are still available for selection.
#NameCapsGoalsFirst capLatest cap
1 Younis Mahmoud 1485719 July 200229 March 2016
2 Hussein Saeed 137785 September 19763 March 1990
3 Ahmed Radhi 1216221 February 198220 June 1997
Adnan Dirjal 811 December 19783 March 1990
5 Alaa Abdul-Zahra 114158 June 20072 January 2018
6 Hawar Mulla Mohammed 1131931 August 200112 June 2012
Nashat Akram 175 October 20014 June 2013
Ali Rehema 28 June 200529 March 2016
9 Mahdi Karim 1101112 October 200128 February 2018
10 Raad Hammoudi 10408 February 197621 February 1987

All-time top goalscorers

As of 28 February 2018 [36]
Players in bold are still available for selection
#NameCareerGoalsCapsGoal ratio
1 Hussein Saeed 1976–1990781370.57
2 Ahmed Radhi 1982–1997621210.51
3 Younis Mahmoud 2002–2016571480.38
4 Ali Kadhim 1970–198035820.43
5 Falah Hassan 1970–1986291030.28
6 Emad Mohammed 2001–2012271030.26
7 Razzaq Farhan 1998–200725620.40
8 Laith Hussein 1986–200221800.26
9 Hesham Mohammed 1998–200419430.44
Hawar Mulla Mohammed 2001–20121130.17


Soccer Field Transparant.svg

Iraq's starting line-up against Saudi Arabia in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup Final, a match they won 1–0.



Minor tournaments

  1. The Asian Games has been part of the Olympic Team's record since 2002; since then Iraq has achieved one silver medal and one bronze medal. Likewise the Olympic Games has been part of the Olympic Team's record since 1992; since then Iraq has achieved fourth place once.

See also

Related Research Articles

Iran national football team mens national association football team representing Iran

The Iran national football team, also known as Team Melli, represents Iran in international football and is controlled by the Iran Football Federation. From December 2014 until May 2018, the men's national football team of Iran remained the highest-ranked team in Asia, representing the longest continuous period of time a team has been top of the continent in the rankings.

Japan national football team Mens national association football team representing Japan

The Japan national football team, nicknamed the Samurai Blue (サムライ・ブルー), represents Japan in international football and is controlled by the Japan Football Association (JFA), the governing body for football in Japan. The current head coach is former footballer and current coach of the Japan national under-23 football team: Hajime Moriyasu.

The Saudi Arabia national football team represents Saudi Arabia in international football. The team's colours are green and white. Saudi Arabia are known as Al-Suqour and Al-Akhdhar.

Kuwait national football team national association football team

The Kuwait national football team is the national team of Kuwait and is controlled by the Kuwait Football Association. Kuwait made one World Cup finals appearance, in 1982, managing one point in the group stages. In the Asian Cup, Kuwait reached the final in 1976 and won the tournament in 1980.

United Arab Emirates national football team national association football team

The United Arab Emirates national football team represents the United Arab Emirates in international football and is controlled by the United Arab Emirates Football Association, the governing body for football in the United Arab Emirates and a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). They were for a time managed by legendary English manager Don Revie.

Jordan national football team national association football team

The Jordan national football team represents Jordan in international football and is controlled by the Jordan Football Association, the governing body for football in Jordan. Jordan's home ground/stadium is the Amman International Stadium. Jordan have never qualified for the World Cup finals, but have appeared four times in the Asian Cup and reached its quarter-final stage in the 2004 and 2011 editions.

Oman national football team national association football team

The Oman national football team represents Oman in international football and is controlled by the Oman Football Association. Although the team was officially founded in 1978, the squad was formed long before, and a proper football association was formed only in December 2005.

Yemen national football team national association football team

The Yemen national football team, is the national team of Yemen and is controlled by the Yemen Football Association.

Pakistan national football team football team

The Pakistan national Football team represents Pakistan association football in FIFA-authorised events and is controlled by the Pakistan Football Federation, the governing body for football in Pakistan. Pakistan's home ground is Punjab Stadium, Lahore. Pakistan became a member of FIFA in 1948 joining the Asian Football Confederation. Pakistan's national team debuted in 1950.

Palestine national football team National association football team of Palestine

The Palestine national football team is the national football team of Palestine and represents Palestine in international football. In the past few years, the Palestinian team has witnessed a remarkable development thanks to coach Jamal Mahmoud and Abdel Nasser Barakat.

Yasser Al-Qahtani Saudi Arabian footballer

Yasser Saeed Al-Qahtani is a former footballer from Saudi Arabia who played as a striker for Al-Hilal FC in the Saudi Professional League. He was also captain of the Saudi Arabian national team.

Ahmed Mubarak Obaid Al Mahaijri, commonly known as Ahmed Mubarak or Ahmed Kano, is an Omani footballer who plays as a midfielder for Al-Markhiya in the Qatari Second Division.

Hussein Saeed Iraqi footballer

Hussein Saeed Mohammed Al-Ubaidi is a retired Iraqi footballer who played as a forward for the Iraqi Premier League club Al-Talaba and the Iraqi national team and is a former president of the Iraq Football Association. Saeed is in fifth place in the list of top international association goal scorers, with 78 goals. Along with Ahmed Radhi, he is considered to be the best Iraqi player of the 20th century and features in 25th place in Asia's Best Players of the Century list. On 24 April 1987, Saeed broke Falah Hassan's record to become the most capped Iraqi player with 110 caps. Hussein is currently the Iraqi national team's highest scoring player with 78 goals.

Badar Mubarak Saleh Al-Maimani, commonly known as Badar Al-Maimani, is an Omani football manager and a former footballer who is the current second assistant manager of Fanja SC in Oman Professional League.

Amad Al-Hosni Omani football player

Amad Ali Suleiman Al-Hosni, commonly known as Amad Al-Hosni or Al-Amda, is an Omani footballer who plays for Fanja SC in Oman Professional League.

2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) football tournament

The Asian Football Confederation was allocated four assured qualifying berths for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and one place in a play-off. 43 teams were in the running for these spots; Laos, Brunei and the Philippines did not attempt to qualify. This was the first time Timor-Leste competed in World Cup qualification and the first time Australia attempted to qualify for the World Cup as a member of the AFC, having moved from the Oceania Football Confederation at the start of 2006.

Taiseer Jaber Al-Jassam is a Saudi Arabian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for the Saudi Arabian national team. Al-Jassim is the captain of Al-Ahli and the vice-captain of the Saudi Arabian national team.

Hussain Ali Farah Al-Hadhri, commonly known as Hussain Al-Hadhri, is an Omani footballer who plays for Dhofar S.C.S.C. in Oman Professional League.

Mansoor Al-Najai was born In 1978 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and is a Saudi Arabian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Najaran SC. He is often regarded as one of the most influential players in Saudi Arabian football.

Dhurgham Ismail Iraqi footballer

Dhurgham Ismail Dawoud Al-Quraishi, known as Dhurgham Ismail, is an Iraqi professional footballer who plays as a left back or left winger for Iraqi Premier League club Al Shorta and for the Iraq national team.


    1. "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
    2. Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". 9 September 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
    3. 1 2 3 4 Mubarak, Hassanin (21 March 2013). "Iraqi Football History". IraqSport.
    4. "Trophy Cabinet".
    5. "28 October 1993 - The Agony Of Doha". This Day in Football History. 28 October 2015.
    6. "Footballers who paid the penalty for failure". The Guardian. 19 April 2003.
    7. "Saddam's son tortured defeated footballers - Telegraph". 30 November 2017. Archived from the original on 30 November 2017.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
    8. Mubarak, Hassanin (9 May 2013). "The game that shook a nation: 2007 Gulf Cup". Iraq Sport.
    9. "Iraq in historic Asian Cup win". Al-Jazeera. 29 July 2007.
    10. "Il calcio riporta la festa in Iraq Al Maliki: "È il trionfo dell'impossibile"". (in Italian). 29 July 2007.
    16. "Iraqi Football Association suspended". 20 November 2009.
    17. "FIFA lifts suspension on Iraq". FourFourTwo. 19 March 2010.
    21. "Iraq coach Shenaishil sacked after World Cup failure".
    22. "Katanec excited to lead Iraq". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
    24. "JAKO Blog – JAKO-Team im Irak". Retrieved 28 January 2015.
    25. "1986 World Cup".
    26. "West Asian Games 2005".
    27. Montague, James (13 January 2011). "Pitch Warfare: Iran face Iraq in soccer grudge match". CNN . Retrieved 21 November 2014.
    28. "Iran-Iraq classic rivalry". Iran Daily (4924). 5 November 2014. p. 11.
    30. Ali Khaled. "Storied Gulf Cup rivalry between Iraq and Kuwait survives war".
    31. "Lifting of FIFA ban could be the start of a new era for Iraq".
    32. AFC green-light to Arbil as venue Archived 19 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
    33. "AFC president welcomes FIFA decision to lift Iraq ban".
    34. "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking - Associations - Iraq - Men's". Retrieved 4 December 2018.
    35. "Results and Fixtures".
    36. 1 2 RSSSF (Hassanin Mubarak) (19 May 2016). "Iraq – Record International Players". Retrieved 25 July 2016.

    Commons-logo.svg Media related to Iraq national football team at Wikimedia Commons