How they rated? Breaking down Iraq’s performance player by player at Rio 2016.

The following article was written by Hassanane Balal, friend of SoccerIraq and owner of You can find similar articles and content to this by visiting and subscribing to, and by following him on his various social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram). We hope to continue working with Hassanane on future projects and wish him the best of luck with


Mohammed Hameed – The young goalkeeper produced a number of exceptional performances, keeping two clean sheets in the process and only conceding the one goal throughout the three games in which he featured – a very respectable achievement.  Dealing with aerial threats have always been a notable weakness for Iraqi goalkeepers, however, Mohammed proved an exception. The goalie was often quick off his line to deal with any aerial threats that came his way, which relieved pressure off the defence and allowed them to play their game. His confidence flowed through the rest of the defence as a result. 8

Fahad Talib – Following his incredible displays in the qualification to Rio 2016, Fahd was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up, losing his place to Mohammed Hameed. N/A

Alaa Ali Mhawi – Brought in to face Brazil having not featured in the first game, all eyes were on how well he would cope against Brazilian superstar Neymar. The youngster proved more than competent as he prevented name from creating anything of real worth. His passing was also crisp, which meant he was able to work the right flank and add an extra element to Iraq’s attack. This was more evident during the South African game; where he spent more time in the opposition half than in his own. 8

Ahmed Ibrahim – Currently without a club, it was a surprise to see him selected as part of the final squad. However, the experienced centre-back proved a worthy selection as he guided the young defensive line through three tough games. Although Rush against Denmark, the defender found his feet against the Brazilians and produced an excellent performance where he dealt with all aerial threats with ease. 8

Mustafa Nadhim – The defender was paired with Ahmed Ibrahim in the centre-back position, which proved a great partnership. He had a particularly good performance against Brazil, where his no-nonsense approach helped keep the tournament hosts to a nil-nil draw.  7

Saad Natiq – Playing between a holding midfield position and as a centre back, Saad did exceptionally well against the Brazilians but failed to achieve the same standard expected against South Africa, where his poor clearance led to their goal. However, his performance was impressive if we are to overlook the one mistake he made throughout the entire tournament. 6

Ali Faez – Rizespor’s latest signing only managed to get a handful of minutes under his belt, to the surprise of many. However, this was down to no fault of his own, as the more experienced centre backs did extremely well in their own right. N/A

Hawbir Moustafa – The only expat player in the squad failed to get any minutes under his belt due to the impressive performance of Alaa Ali, who made the right back slot his own. N/A

Dhurgham Ismail – Although he did not have a particularly brilliant tournament, with his crossing often aimless, he did okay in the defensive duties, as is expected. The only complaint would be his slip against South Africa, which led to their only goal. 5

Ali Adnan – Udinese’s superstar was desperately unlucky not to score against Denmark, testing their keeper with numerous free kicks. His performance against Brazil was equally impressive, where he performed exceptionally well defensively and still attacked on the counter. Iraq’s only goal came from his assist against South Africa, where he also hit the woodwork on two occasions but was later taken off as a substitute. A fine tournament nonetheless for the makeshift winger. 8

Saad Abdul-Amir – Or Saad Luaibi, as was seen on his shirt, stole the limelight as he passed the centre of the park regardless of whom he was up against. The midfielder displayed a calmness rarely seen with Iraqi footballers, where he passed the ball with minimal ease. He also created options for his teammates with exceptional off the ball movement into space at every given opportunity. It was a fitting statistic for Saad to be the only goal scorer for Iraq in the tournament. 9

Amjad Attwan – Alongside Saad, he formed a formidable midfield partnership that dominated Denmark and South Africa completely, whilst also holding its own against the Brazilians. His passing was excellent, where he played with his head up and looked to pass the ball all over the pitch. He was also not afraid to have a shot on goal when the opportunity arose. 8

Mehdi Kamil – A brief stint from the substitute’s bench against Denmark nearly won the game for the Iraqis. However, his performance against South Africa, in which he started, was less than impressive. The midfielder lost countless opportunities in front of goal and was eventually substituted. 6

Humam Tariq – An ever present name in the Iraqi team, the countless utility player once again found himself on the pitch ahead of others more worthy of donning the Iraqi shirt. His performance against Denmark was acceptable, however, his substitute appearance against South Africa was painful to watch. 5

Ali Hosni – Iraq’s main creative outlet failed to impress during his start against Denmark, where he was taken off. He once again started against South Africa, where he tore their defence apart and was unlucky not to back himself numerous assists had his teammates been able to finish off the chances he created. 7

Sherko Kareem – One of few players not currently playing in the Middle East, the controversial youngster failed to justify any of the hype surrounding his talent. His passes were often wayward and he regularly failed to beat his man. A disappointing tournament for a very promising footballer. 4

Hammadi Ahmed – Taken as one of three overage players due to his experience, the striker failed to score a single goal or have any real chance that troubled the goalkeeper. His movement was poor in the box, resulting in his teammates being unable to find him with their through balls. 4

Mohanned Abdul-Raheem – He came close to scoring on occasions, having one-shot cleared off the line and hitting the post on another opportunity. You cannot fault him for his movement as he managed to get into numerous positions to score, however his finishing was lacklustre and frankly speaking, woeful. His performances against the South Africans in particular was hugely disappointing, especially given that he was supposed to be the main outlet in which Iraq were to score from. 5