Iran fails to defeat Syria in WCQ

Kristopher Nichols
September 7, 2017

Posted: Sep. 4, 2017 7:00 am Updated: Sep.

Syria have been in civil war for the past six years but yesterday their football team provided an incredible moment with their 93rd minute equaliser in their World Cup qualifier against Iran.

Now Australia faces Syria in a two-match October playoff for the right to enter a November showdown with the fourth-place team from CONCAFAF, the Central and North American region.

A double from Sardar Azmoun looked to have given Iran all three points until Al Soma - playing only his second match for Syria since his return from a self-imposed exile - slid the ball through Beiranvand's legs to level deep into stoppage time. We believe that the hosts will play in their field habitually very powerful and will win the fifth victory.

The civil war, which began in 2011, has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people with the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria saying more than 400,000 had lost their lives in the conflict. It will also be a boost for President Bashar Assad, who is eager to project strength and normalcy on the world stage while his forces continue to recapture territory on the ground.

Three terrestrial channels in the country - KBS, MBC and SBS - reportedly paid Federation Internationale de Football Association 132 billion won in World Cup broadcasting fees.

Syrian soldier Saeed Ereiji, 34, who wore the national team's shirt over his military pants, could hardly contain his joy.

He returned to Damascus for the first time in five years to a hero's welcome last month, saying: "There is no better feeling than returning home". They have played their home fixtures in Malaysia.

Omar Al Somah, a player who had come out of global retirement following a five-year absence, took advantage of a break to slip the ball under Iran's keeper nearly at the death to give his country a 2-2 draw.

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Opposition activists are divided over the team.

He said will watch the game against Iran, as he did with previous ones.

He further said, "The second goal for our national team! It's wrong to say that we should not back the national team because it represents the regime", he said.

Hundreds more fans watched the game on a big screen in the capital's Ommayad Square, among them university student Amjad al-Hariri.

The politics of Syria's run has not been lost on anyone.

Russian Federation 2018 will be the fifth appearance for Saudi Arabia in the FIFA World Cup finals after qualifying for the first time back in 1994. Both countries have provided crucial political and military support to shore up Assad's forces in the war.

That precious point, combined with Uzebekistan's failure to defeat South Korea in Taskent, meant the Uzebeks were out and the Qaisoun Eagles were through to the play-offs.

Halilhozic made four changes to the team that started against Australia, picking veteran midfielder Keisuke Honda despite knowing he lacked match fitness having not played a great deal since arriving at Mexican club Pachuca.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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