Match Preview: Indonesia vs Iraq

Indonesia v Iraq
2023 AFC Asian Cup – Group D fixture
5:30pm BGD, Monday 15 January 2024

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

The Lions of Mesopotamia will kick off their much-anticipated 2023 AFC Asian Cup campaign on Monday against Indonesia in Group D.

Iraq enter the competition in good spirits, after an encouraging year under Spanish coach Jesús Casas. Iraq began the year by clinching the Arabian Gulf Cup title in Basra, before winning the King’s Cup in Thailand and building experience in friendlies with Russia and Colombia.

The Lions also began their World Cup qualifying campaign in November against the same opponent that they will face on Monday in Indonesia, and Iraq came out on top with a convincing 5-1 victory. Iraq’s goals were scored by Bashar Resan, Osama Rashid, Youssef Amyn and Ali Al-Hamadi, who all feature in the Asian Cup squad, in addition to an own goal.

Iraq will be looking to pick up all three points at the start of their Asian Cup journey, and the 2007 Asian Cup winners will be favourites to do so given the recent history between the two sides.

Iraq Squad News
Casas is expected to have the full squad available for the game with Indonesia, although centre-back Saad Natiq only returned to full training on Saturday after picking up a knock and therefore the coach will have a decision to make regarding whether he should be involved.

Talking Point
The main talking point heading into this game from a tactical perspective will be which striker(s) Casas decides to play. Last time out against Indonesia, Aymen Hussein started up front as a lone striker, and the talisman was Iraq’s top scorer in 2023 with an impressive six goals. However, Casas went for a front two of Aymen Hussein and Ali Al-Hamadi in the next qualifier with Vietnam, before Mohanad Ali was substituted onto the field and he ended up scoring the winning goal. All three strikers have staked their claim for the starting spot and it is now up to Casas who gets the nod on Monday.

Head to head
Iraq have played Indonesia three times since the turn of the 21st century, recording 1-0 and 2-0 wins in the 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers on top of the recent 5-1 qualifying win in Basra. Before that, Iraq picked up 4-0 friendly victory in 1996, as well as two wins in the Merdeka Tournament in the 1970s and a win and a draw in 1974 World Cup qualifying. Historically, Iraq’s only defeat to Indonesia was a 2-1 loss in an Olympic Games qualifying match in 1968.

Indonesia in profile
Nickname: The Red and Whites
Coach: Shin Tae-yong (South Korea)
Captain: Asnawi Mangkualam
FIFA World Ranking: 146th
Asian Cup best performance: Group stage

Last encounter: Iraq 5-1 Indonesia, World Cup Qualifiers, 16 November 2023, Basra International Stadium

قنوات الكاس on Twitter: “أهداف المباراة | #العراق 5 – 1 #اندونيسياالتصفيات الآسيوية المشتركة المؤهلة إلى كأس العالم 2026 وكأس آسيا 2027#العراق_اندونيسيا#قنوات_الكاس pic.twitter.com/9QGKbpXRn1 / Twitter”

أهداف المباراة | #العراق 5 – 1 #اندونيسياالتصفيات الآسيوية المشتركة المؤهلة إلى كأس العالم 2026 وكأس آسيا 2027#العراق_اندونيسيا#قنوات_الكاس pic.twitter.com/9QGKbpXRn1