The draw for the 2019 Asian Cup was held today in the United Arab Emirates. Iraq, who were originally placed in Pot 2, were handed a very interesting group that will make for great match-ups.
The expanded Asian Cup, now including 24 teams, will have a brand new trophy to play for as the teams line-up next January.
Iraq were put in Group D, and their first match will be against Vietnam. Iraq struggled against Vietnam in the qualification stage two years ago, and it will be interesting to if Basim Qasim’s side will fare better this time around.
The second game that Iraq will play will be against Yemen. The war-torn country achieved an amazing feat by just qualifying considering their circumstances, however they may be inspired by Iraq’s unforgettable achievement in 2007 to punch above their weight and it will most definitely not be an easy tie for the Lions.
Iraq’s final match will be a repeat of the thrilling quarter-final match against eternal enemies Iran, the top ranked team in AFC. This will be the third time in a row that the two nations face each other on Asia’s biggest stage. Iraq are the only Asian team to have beaten Iran since 2013, and a new chapter will definitely be written in the historic rivalry.
The top two teams from each group qualify to the Round of 16 in addition to four third-place teams in this newly expanded tournament.
Iraq are rumoured to be facing South Korea and Japan in preparation for the tournament.