Player Rating: Iraq 0-2 Australia (WCQ Russia 2018)

For a more detailed match report of the Iraq 0-2 Australia match, Click Here.

Player Ratings


GK – Mohammed Hameed – Made a crucial save seconds into the game. Got down well to make a few other saves. Could only look on as Australia struck bar twice and scored two other goals. . (6.5/10)


RB – Alaa Mhawi – Comfortably dealt with the Australian attack on the right hand side. His pace and positioning allowed no player from the opposition to get past him. As a result, the Australians looked to cross early from his side or pressure the left hand side instead. Combined well with Ahmed Yasin at times. The few instances he lost the ball, he won the ball back immediately. An overall mature performance from the youngster. Unfortunately his only mistake came at the expense of a goal. Had he looked over his shoulder to see Luongo coming from behind, they ‘may’ not have scored. The youngster will learn from these errors. (7 / 10)


Alaa Making His Debut

RCB – Ahmed Ibrahim – Mostly a solid performance from our most internationally experienced defender on the pitch. He was guilty of poor reading of the Australian attack at times in the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half. Wasn’t his usual rash self, which was encouraging. Cleared dangers away when necessary (6 / 10).

LCB – Dhurgham Ismail – Any attack on his side was dealt with in the first half – almost as if he occupied two positions. Failed to learn from the warning that came 30 seconds before the goal. Misinterpreted the ball and jumped too early, heading it backwards for the opposition player. However, generally good performance for the out of position defender. Cleared out danger comfortably, bailed his teammates’ errors and read the opposition attacks well (7 / 10).

LB – Ali Adnan – Interchanged position with Ismail a few times. Clear confusion as two LB were played next to each other. Went for harder option at times and lost ball when he explodes into his runs. Far too many passes were careless and often kicked the ball long only to find no one. Out of position for the first goal and passed it to Ali Abbas who was under pressure from 3 Australian players. Jogged back to his position but it was too late by then. As a result, Dhurgam took Adnans position, Iraq were disorganised and conceded. Understandably substituted after the goal (4 / 10).

DM – Saad Natiq – The makeshift holding midfielder crucially cleared several cute through balls played by the Socceroos throughout the duration of the game. However, it is clear he was not comfortable playing out of his natural position. On a few occasions, he was seen running towards Aussie attack (on the back foot, when two teammates were already marking the Australian player) (6 / 10)

Played As A Makeshift Midfielder
CM – Saad Abdulamir – An unusual poor game for the Rio2016 superstar. He regularly misplaced his passes in the first half. Improved slightly in the second half. An overall performance to forget for our new captain. (5 / 10)
Not His Most Memorable Performance

 CM – Ali Abbas – Intercepted several dangerous passes in midfield. He was at the heart of all the possession that Iraq held. He gave the ball away a few times (although less than Saad) as he looked to play the ball forward and start attacks. No surprise he was behind the pass to Yasin for his chance on goal. He also had a long range shot saved. Massive shift today after being out of the national team for so long. (7 / 10)

RM – Ahmed Yasin – Like Abbas, his first thought was to get the ball forward or run at the opposition. A real danger down the right. Constantly dribbled at Bournemouth’s Brad Smith (who picked up a yellow card as a result) and was denied a stonewall penalty. His chance came as he received the ball comfortably from Abbas’ pass, showed composure, used the overlapping Mhawi as a decoy, cut in  and curled the ball with his weaker foot towards goal but narrowly missed the target. It speaks volumes of Mhawi when our highest rated performer of the day clapped and praised Mhawi’s performance continuously throughout the 90mins. (7.5/10)

Iraq’s Standout Player On The Day
LM – Ali Husni – A nuisance for the Aussies when Iraq were breaking on the counter. Earned a yellow card for Mooy, and was close to being 1-on-1 with the goalie if it were not for last ditch tackle from the opposition defender. More composure and Iraq would’ve been 1-0 up. Tried to be cute too often at times with flicks and tricks that mostly didn’t pay off. Guilty of misplaced passes when Iraq were starting to gain control and attack. As a result, Australia could restart their play and Iraq would return to the back foot again. He had his deflected volley from Yasin’s ball on target but didn’t connect well. Understandably subbed, level dropped in the 2nd half (6.5/10)
Football Soccer - Australia v Iraq - World Cup 2018 Qualifier - Perth, Australia
Ali Battling For The Ball
ST – Justin Meram – Lost the ball far too many times and touch was off in the first half. You’ve got to hold the ball up better than that if you’re going to play as lone striker. Ran after every Aussie pass so can’t fault for not pressing. Improved in the 2nd half. His overall performance was summed up late on in the game. Meram was on his own in the Aussie half when Iraq won a throw-in. Yasin threw him the ball. Meram had poorly controlled the ball and lost it. Yasin could be heard saying: “you said give the f*****g ball, I gave it to you. What did you do?” That’s precisely what Iraqis were thinking for the 90mins. (4.5/10)
Justin Winning The Header


Yaser Kasim (60′ – Ali Adnan) – Kasim played the most forward of the midfield three. His careless pass saw Australia on the attack and win the corner, which resulted in Australia’s 2nd goal. However, we did see him steadying the ship in the last 20 minutes with accurate passing, which he is known for, albeit there weren’t many. (5 / 10)

Amjad Waleed (64′ – Ali Husni) – The inexperienced midfielder was brought on to instil much needed energy down the left wing. He created no real impact on the game. (5 / 10)

Alaa Abdul-Zahra (79′ Saad Natiq) – He interchanged with Waleed on the left hand side. Either one took up the furthest of the three positions in midfield. Kasim and Saad dropped deeper. This substitute was more a hopeful one by Radhi, rather than tactical. (5/10)


Coach Rating

Radhi Shenaishil – Deployed a mix of 4-5-1 or a defensive 4-3-3 formation. Clearly didn’t set out to win. Instead, he set out to hit on counter from the wings and the tactic nearly paid off through chances by Husni and Yasin. Had he not picked Ali Abbas, the score line would’ve been a lot worse, without a doubt – the manager’s bravery for that particular selection must be credited. He also took the risk and gave Alaa Mhawi his first competitive debut, who will hopefully cement that position as his own. Experimented with Justin as a lone striker, which was a risky tactic away against one of the bigger teams in Asia. Made a mistake with Dhurgam and Ali Adnan together in defence. Regardless of what his doubters say, he remains the best man for the Iraqi job (6.5/10).


Radhi Prowling Across The Touchline

This article was written by Ali Shekarchi.  You can contact him on Twitter or using the comment section below. We thank Ali for his contribution to and look forward to working closely with him on future projects.


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