CANBERRA (AFP) – Iraq are daring to dream of another sensational Asian Cup victory as they prepare to face arch-rivals Iran in the quarter-finals.
The Lions of Mesopotamia stunned three-time champions Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final eight years ago and stand-in coach Radhi Shenaishil believes history could repeat itself.
Memories of 2007 were rekindled when Younis Mahmoud, who scored the winner in 2007, netted a similar header in Iraq’s 2-0 Group D victory over Palestine late on Wednesday.
“I wish that the 2007 scenario occurs for the Iraq national team again and if we get a positive result against Iran and make it to the semi-final, I’m sure you will find Iraq in the final,” said Shenaishil, a former Iraq international.
Iraq finished runners-up in Group D and next take on three-time winners Iran, who are yet to concede a goal, in a crunch last-eight match-up in Canberra on Friday.
“Of course it is going to be a difficult match as there is a lot of history between us and Iran are a strong team,” said Shenaishil, on loan for the Asian Cup from Qatar Sports Club.
“As a player I’ve played a lot of matches against Iran, especially at the stage where the losing teams will leave the competition, so I’m sure we’re going to see a good game.”