The Lions of Mesopotamia have achieved several landslide victories throughout their storied history, and we’ve picked out ten of them below!
Iraq 8-0 Lebanon – 1960 Olympic Games Qualifier
Iraq’s first victory by seven or more goals came in 1959, two years after their first official international game, in an Olympic Games qualifying match against Lebanon in Baghdad. The legendary Ammo Baba scored two, while Adil Abdullah smashed in four goals and Tariq Mohammed Salih also grabbed himself a brace in an 8-0 win. It was a loss so heavy that Lebanon ended up withdrawing from the competition after full-time, which was probably a wise decision as they avoided playing Turkey who went on to thrash Iraq 7-1 less than two weeks later!
Iraq 10-1 Bahrain – 1966 Arab Nations Cup
Iraq hit double figures for the first time in 1966, beating Bahrain 10-1 at Al-Kashafa Stadium as the country hosted the Arab Nations Cup for the first time. Nouri Dhiab scored four, with Amer Jamil netting a brace and Salman Dawood, Gorgis Ismail, Qais Hameed and Mohammed Najim also getting in on the action. Surprisingly enough, it was only the third-biggest winning margin at that tournament, with Libya picking up 21-0 and 13-1 wins in the group stage! Iraq went on to win the cup though, eliminating Libya along the way.
Iraq 7-1 Saudi Arabia – 1976 Arabian Gulf Cup
In a match that has been stuck in the memories of fans ever since, Iraq put seven past rivals Saudi Arabia in their first appearance at the Arabian Gulf Cup back in 1976. The Lions, coached by the popular Scotsman Danny McLennan, eased to victory with a hat-trick from Ali Kadhim and goals by Kadhim Waal, Sabah Abdul-Jalil, Falah Hassan and Ahmed Subhi. Iraq also picked up two 4-0 wins and a 4-1 victory in the same group stage and yet still found themselves tied on goal difference with their main title rivals Kuwait, who went on to win the playoff match and take the trophy.
Iraq 7-0 Oman – 1979 Arabian Gulf Cup
Another Arabian Gulf Cup, another huge win for Iraq. Led by Ammo Baba, the Lions cruised through the tournament with a 100% win record and 23 goals scored on their way to the title. Seven of those goals came in this one game as Al-Shaab Stadium witnessed Hussein Saeed score four, Falah Hassan net two and Adel Khudhair bag one in a demolition of the tournament’s weakest side Oman.
Iraq 13-0 Ethiopia – 1992 Jordan International Tournament
The biggest win in Iraq’s history came in a friendly tournament in 1992 as they ran riot in a 13-0 victory over Ethiopia (although there have been claims that the team Iraq faced were in fact Banks Sports Club and not Ethiopia’s national team). The Lions’ dazzling style of play was too much to handle with Ahmed Radhi scoring five times, Laith Hussein, Saad Qais and Habib Jafar scoring two each and Naeem Saddam and Mahdi Kadhim picking up further goals. Iraq went on to reach the final of the tournament but lost to 2-0 to Jordan – a result that infuriated Saddam Hussein’s son Uday to the point where he barbarically ordered the imprisonment and torture of some of the players.
Iraq 8-0 Pakistan – 1994 World Cup Qualifier
Less than a year after scoring 13 against Ethiopia, Iraq put eight past Pakistan in a World Cup Qualifier. Saad Qais and Alaa Kadhim each got a brace while Laith Hussein, Ahmed Radhi, Munthir Khalaf and Naeem Saddam also scored. The Lions ended up topping that group to reach the final round of qualifiers but they finished just one point away from qualifying for their second World Cup, largely due to a collapse against North Korea where Iraq threw away a 2-0 lead after going down to ten men to lose 3-2.
Iraq 8-0 Macau – 2002 World Cup Qualifier
Al-Shaab Stadium bore witness to another memorable Iraq win in 2001 as the Lions hosted a World Cup Qualifier against minnows Macau. Al-Zawraa legend Hesham Mohammed scored five goals with Sabah Jeayer adding two and Ahmed Kadhim also getting his name on the scoresheet in front of 45,000 spectators in Baghdad.
Iraq 9-1 Nepal – 2002 World Cup Qualifier
Just two days after thrashing Macau by eight goals, Iraq went and put nine past Nepal at the same venue. Hesham Mohammed and Ahmed Kadhim were on the scoresheet again, netting twice each, while Abdul-Wahab Abu Al-Hail (2), Habib Jafar, Haidar Najim and Emad Mohammed completed the scoring. The two landslide victories proved vital as Iraq finished above Kazakhstan by +5 goal difference to reach the final round of qualifiers.
Pakistan 0-7 Iraq – 2010 World Cup Qualifier
Pakistan were Iraq’s victims once again in 2007 as the Lions, fresh off their famous Asian Cup title win, ran riot in Lahore. Mahdi Karim scored four goals, with Nashat Akram, Jassim Ghulam and Emad Mohammed getting the other three. Pakistan managed to hold Iraq to a surprising goalless draw in the second leg, while the Asian champions were eliminated in the next round after a controversial 1-0 defeat to Qatar, who escaped punishment for fielding an ineligible Brazilian player.
Iraq 7-1 Singapore – 2014 World Cup Qualifier
Iraq’s most recent seven-goal victory came under the leadership of Brazilian legend Zico in 2012. Karrar Jassim gave Iraq the lead before Younis Mahmoud bagged a hat-trick in a scintillating display. The other goals came from Nashat Akram, Hawar Mulla Mohammed and Mustafa Karim as Iraq cruised to the top of their group to qualify for the final round, where they unfortunately finished bottom of their group. Nonetheless, this game remains a fond memory from the final years of Iraq’s “Golden Generation”.