Iraq to host UAE in only the second World Cup qualifier on home soil for 11 years

March 8 – Iraq are returning to Iraq for their final home fixture in March in the AFC Asian Qualifiers for Qatar 2022, the first time they have played a match on home soil in the qualifying campaign.

Iraq still have an outside change of qualifying for an intercontinental play-off spot for Qatar 2022 but will need to beat visitors the UAE at the Al-Madina International Stadium in Baghdad City if they are to keep their hopes alive.

Iraq are four points behind the UAE with two games to play. The play the UAE on March 24 before completing their group campaign against bottom side Syria (ironically at a neutral venue in Dubai, UAE). The UAE finish against already qualified South Korea. The Koreans have been unbeaten in qualifying.

The home advantage for Iraq and the emotion of the return to Baghdad to face the UAE in such a crucial fixture could be a defining moment both for the country’s football and 2022 qualifying.

In October 2019, Iraq defeated Hong Kong 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 at the Basra Sport City – that was their first Qualifier on home soil since 2011.

In January this year, international A national team football returned to Baghdad after more than eight years when the men’s national team beat Uganda 1-0 in a friendly tie at the Al-Madina International Stadium – the first international in the capital since a match against Liberia in 2013.

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