Monday, August 23, 2004


Sensationally, Iraq has reached the semifinals of the Olympics. They will face a very strong Paraguayan side for one spot in a final.
I have little knowledge of Iraqi football, besides the many stories about the dominance of Mr. Hussein's son in the football association.
Notwithstanding the for me pretty irrelevant political-historical context, I do know that in Mexico 1986, Iraq participated in their only World Cup ever. Back then, they were paired with a group with hosts Mexico, Belgium and Paraguay. They lost every game.
So, meeting Paraguay is not a first for the Iraqi's. In 1986, Paraguay won 1-0, on a goal by the great Paraguayan player Julio Cesar Romero - a.k.a. "Romerito".
Although I haven't seen any of Iraq's matches, I assume that their strength should be a good fight and spirit. However, I think that like in 1986, Paraguay will have the edge, and win a close fight. This doesn't take away that it is great for Iraqi football to be back on the World stage, where they belong.

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