Iraq recall Yaser Kasim for match with Saudi Arabia in Basra

Yaser Kasim could make his first appearance for Iraq since the 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Australia in September 2016. (AFP)
Updated 19 February 2018
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Iraq recall Yaser Kasim for match with Saudi Arabia in Basra

LONDON: Iraq's coach Basim Qasim has named a 22-man squad for the friendly match against Saudi Arabia next week, calling up three new faces and handing a return to English-based midfielder Yaser Kasim for the first time in more than a year.
While Saudi Arabia head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi was afforded the luxury of naming his side for the match on Feb. 28 last month, Qasim has had to delay his selection for a couple of weeks. Several of the clubs had not replied as to whether players would be released for the friendly, which falls outside the FIFA International Match Calendar, and the Iraq FA did not want a repeat of the situation prior to the 23rd Gulf Cup, where the players had to turn down the call-ups on the eve of the tournament. Ahmed Yasin, of AIK, Ostersunds FK’s captain Brwa Nouri and Udinese's Ali Adnan will all miss out as they will not be released by their clubs.
The bulk of the squad therefore comes from Al-Shurta, who are second in the Iraqi Premier League. They have seven players in the squad, including defender Karrar Mohammed, who is back in the fold for the first time since 2016. Al-Naft's Bayar Abu-Bakir, who scored on his debut two years ago, is also back after a lengthy absence.
The newcomers are Al-Zawraa defender Mustafa Mohammed, a former U-17 international, Al-Talaba’s Arkan Ammar, who has started the season brilliantly with his new club, and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya striker Emad Muhsin, who scored the winner in the final of the 2017 AFC Cup to give his club a second AFC title.
The big surprise is the inclusion of Kasim. The midfielder, who moved to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Northampton Town from Swindon Town last summer, said he planned to retire from international football only a few months ago, but he has performed a U-turn and now has the chance to add to his 18 international caps. His last game for Iraq came in Perth in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Australia in September 2016.

SQUAD TO FACE SAUDI ARABIA ON FEB. 28

Goalkeepers: Mohammed Gassid, Jalal Hassan, Mohammed Hameed

Defenders: Ali Faez, Mustafa Nadhim, Karrar Mohammed, Hussam Kadhem, Waleed Salim, Mustafa Mohammed, Ahmed Abdul-Ridha, Alaa Ali Mhawi, Bayar Aboubakir

Midfielders: Amjad Attwan, Yaser Kasim, Humam Tariq, Mahdi Kamel, Ali Husni, Hussein Ali

Attackers: Aymen Hussein, Emad Mohsin, Mohannad Abdul-Raheem, Arkan Amar


Late stunner from Toni Kroos gives Germany vital win over Sweden

Updated 24 June 2018
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Late stunner from Toni Kroos gives Germany vital win over Sweden

  • Kroos curled a right-foot shot from the left edge of the area inside the far post after a set piece
  • Germany needed at least a draw to stay in contention in Group F

SOCHI: Toni Kroos has revived Germany's World Cup hopes with a superb late strike in the fifth minute of stoppage time to seal a 2-1 win for the defending champions over Sweden.
Kroos curled a right-foot shot from the left edge of the area inside the far post after a set piece, with Germany down to 10 men. He tapped the ball to Marco Reus from the free kick and then launched his strike into the top corner.
Germany needed at least a draw to stay in contention in Group F after opening with a loss to Mexico. It is now second in the group, three points behind Mexico and level with Sweden. Mexico had a 2-1 victory over winless South Korea 2-1 earlier Saturday.
Sweden opened the scoring with Ola Toivonen in the first half after a counterattack that started with a passing mistake by Kroos' near midfield.
Reus equalized three minutes into the second half with a shot from inside the area after a pass by Timo Werner.
Germany played the final minutes with 10 men as Jerome Boateng was sent off for a second yellow card for a hard challenge on Marcus Berg.
Halftime substitute Mario Gomez had one of the best chances for Germany with a close-range header in the 88th that was saved by goalkeeper Robin Olsen.