Syria

AFP

Syrian coach Hakim resigns after World Cup defeat

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Damascus (AFP) – Syria coach Ayman al-Hakim on Thursday resigned after the head of the federation criticised his performance, after the team failed to qualify for its first ever World Cup.

Syria’s hopes to qualify in the Asian playoffs in October for a spot in the 2018 World Cup were dashed during extra time against Australia.

Syria footballers take refuge in Iraq as tables turn

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Baghdad (AFP) – A decade ago, Iraqi footballers used to take refuge in neighbouring Syria to pursue their career but the tables have turned in the tumultuous world of Middle East conflicts.

Nadim Sabagh remembers the Iraqis who played at Tishrin, his club in the northern metropolis of Aleppo that was to turn into a hotspot in Syria’s devastating conflict.

World Cup hope brings relief and divisions in Syria

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Damascus (AFP) – The prospect of reaching football’s World Cup and creating one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history is giving Syrians something else to think about after years of grinding war.

Syria’s underdog team, who because of the war are based in Malaysia, take on Australia in Sydney on Tuesday with the score from the first leg of their playoff poised at 1-1.

Miracle of Sydney? Weakened Syria eye World Cup upset

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Sydney (AFP) – Syria will rely on their trademark fighting spirit to keep their World Cup “miracle” alive against Australia on Tuesday, as the Socceroos look to ride a wave of home support.

The Syrians were fortunate to grab a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Asian play-off in Malaysia last week, courtesy of a controversial late penalty that left Australia fuming.

Football: Disputed penalty lifts Syria World Cup hopes

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – Omar al-Soma’s disputed late penalty kept Syria’s World Cup dream alive on Thursday as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Australia and set up a nerve-jangling play-off second leg in Sydney.

Australia were left fuming by Soma’s crucial spot-kick in the 85th minute, after the towering forward was nudged mid-air by Mathew Leckie and Iranian referee Alireza Faghani pointed to the spot.

Football: Disputed penalty lifts Syria World Cup hopes

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – Omar al-Soma’s disputed late penalty kept Syria’s World Cup dream alive on Thursday as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Australia and set up a nerve-jangling play-off second leg in Sydney.

Australia were left fuming by Soma’s crucial spot-kick in the 85th minute, after the towering forward was nudged mid-air by Mathew Leckie and Iranian referee Alireza Faghani pointed to the spot.

Football: Cahill relishing ‘cut-throat’ Syria play-off

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – Veteran forward Tim Cahill on Wednesday said Australia were relishing the “cut-throat” challenge of beating Syria over two legs as they look to reach next year’s World Cup via the nerve-jangling play-offs.

Australia’s record goal-scorer said the pre-match favourites would look to dictate play on Thursday in steamy Malacca, Malaysia, venue for Syria’s ‘home’ tie due to their country’s ongoing civil war.

Football: Cahill relishing ‘cut-throat’ Syria play-off

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – Veteran forward Tim Cahill on Wednesday said Australia were relishing the “cut-throat” challenge of beating Syria over two legs as they look to reach next year’s World Cup via the nerve-jangling play-offs.

Australia’s record goal-scorer said the pre-match favourites would look to dictate play on Thursday in steamy Malacca, Malaysia, venue for Syria’s ‘home’ tie due to their country’s ongoing civil war.

‘There’s no impossible’ as war-torn Syria eye football World Cup

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – A qualifying campaign that has defied civil war and internal splits has brought Syria within sight of a miraculous World Cup berth - if they can overcome Asian champions Australia.

Syria were given little chance of making an impact in Asia’s qualifiers but after reaching the regional play-offs, they stand four games away from Russia 2018.

‘There’s no impossible’ as war-torn Syria eye football World Cup

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – A qualifying campaign that has defied civil war and internal splits has brought Syria within sight of a miraculous World Cup berth - if they can overcome Asian champions Australia.

Syria were given little chance of making an impact in Asia’s qualifiers but after reaching the regional play-offs, they stand four games away from Russia 2018.

Jedinak back for Australia’s World Cup play-off

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia received a boost on Tuesday with captain Mile Jedinak named in an extended squad for their crunch World Cup play-off against Syria after he missed their final qualifiers through injury.

A groin problem forced the Aston Villa star out of the Socceroos clashes against Japan and Thailand, in which they failed to qualify automatically for Russia, missing out to Saudi Arabia on goal difference.

Jedinak back for Australia’s World Cup play-off

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia received a boost on Tuesday with captain Mile Jedinak named in an extended squad for their crunch World Cup play-off against Syria after he missed their final qualifiers through injury.

A groin problem forced the Aston Villa star out of the Socceroos clashes against Japan and Thailand, in which they failed to qualify automatically for Russia, missing out to Saudi Arabia on goal difference.

‘I’ve lost it!’ Tearful Syrian football commentator goes viral

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Hong Kong (AFP) – A TV commentator who broke down in tears while celebrating Syria’s priceless World Cup qualifying equaliser against Iran has gone viral, racking up more than one million views online.

When Omar Al Soma scored in the 93rd minute, earning Syria a 2-2 draw and a place in the Asian play-offs for Russia 2018, the commentator was overcome with emotion as he shouted excitedly for two minutes.

‘I’ve lost it!’ Tearful Syrian football commentator goes viral

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Hong Kong (AFP) – A TV commentator who broke down in tears while celebrating Syria’s priceless World Cup qualifying equaliser against Iran has gone viral, racking up more than one million views online.

When Omar Al Soma scored in the 93rd minute, earning Syria a 2-2 draw and a place in the Asian play-offs for Russia 2018, the commentator was overcome with emotion as he shouted excitedly for two minutes.

Syrian joy as football World Cup dream lives on

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Hong Kong (AFP) – Syrian fans expressed joy as their fairytale World Cup campaign headed into an Asian play-off against Australia - whose coach found himself under rising pressure.

Saudi Arabia also celebrated booking their spot at Russia 2018, but South Korean supporters appeared unconvinced after a 0-0 draw with Uzbekistan took their team to a ninth straight World Cup.

Syrian joy as football World Cup dream lives on

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Hong Kong (AFP) – Syrian fans expressed joy as their fairytale World Cup campaign headed into an Asian play-off against Australia - whose coach found himself under rising pressure.

Saudi Arabia also celebrated booking their spot at Russia 2018, but South Korean supporters appeared unconvinced after a 0-0 draw with Uzbekistan took their team to a ninth straight World Cup.

Korea, Saudi reach World Cup, Syria into play-offs

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Tehran (AFP) – Omar Al Soma’s stoppage-time equaliser took war-torn Syria into Asia’s World Cup play-offs on Tuesday, as South Korea and Saudi Arabia both booked their spots at next year’s tournament.

Syria were 2-1 down against Iran and heading out when Al Soma threaded his shot through goalkeeper Alireza Salimi’s legs in the third added minute, sparking wild celebrations.

Korea, Saudi reach World Cup, Syria into play-offs

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Tehran (AFP) – Omar Al Soma’s stoppage-time equaliser took war-torn Syria into Asia’s World Cup play-offs on Tuesday, as South Korea and Saudi Arabia both booked their spots at next year’s tournament.

Syria were 2-1 down against Iran and heading out when Al Soma threaded his shot through goalkeeper Alireza Salimi’s legs in the third added minute, sparking wild celebrations.

Korea reach World Cup, Syria into play-offs

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Tehran (AFP) – Omar Al Soma’s stoppage-time equaliser extended war-torn Syria’s World Cup fairytale on Tuesday, as South Korea booked their spot to reach the tournament for the ninth straight time.

Syria were 2-1 down against Iran and heading out, but in the third added minute Mardek Mardkian slid a pass to Al Soma, who finished through goalkeeper Alireza Salimi’s legs.

Korea reach World Cup, Syria into play-offs

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Tehran (AFP) – Omar Al Soma’s stoppage-time equaliser extended war-torn Syria’s World Cup fairytale on Tuesday, as South Korea booked their spot to reach the tournament for the ninth straight time.

Syria were 2-1 down against Iran and heading out, but in the third added minute Mardek Mardkian slid a pass to Al Soma, who finished through goalkeeper Alireza Salimi’s legs.

South Korea reach World Cup, Syria into play-offs

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Hong Kong (AFP) – South Korea squeezed unconvincingly into their ninth straight World Cup on Tuesday, as war-torn Syria scored a stoppage-time equaliser to secure a shock spot in the Asian play-offs.

South Korea ground out a 0-0 draw against Uzbekistan to lock up second place in Group A, while Omar Al Soma’s 93rd-minute goal gave Syria a 2-2 draw with Iran to finish third.

South Korea reach World Cup, Syria into play-offs

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Hong Kong (AFP) – South Korea squeezed unconvincingly into their ninth straight World Cup on Tuesday, as war-torn Syria scored a stoppage-time equaliser to secure a shock spot in the Asian play-offs.

South Korea ground out a 0-0 draw against Uzbekistan to lock up second place in Group A, while Omar Al Soma’s 93rd-minute goal gave Syria a 2-2 draw with Iran to finish third.

Road to Russia football fever unites war-divided Syrians

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Damascus (AFP) – For the first time in Syria’s conflict, sport has come to the defence of the deeply-fractured country’s unity, with regime backers and foes alike dreaming of World Cup 2018 qualification.

All eyes and ears will be on Tuesday night’s game away to Iran, the government’s ally in the six-year conflict but a barrier to Syria’s target of making its World Cup finals debut next year in Russia, another close war ally.

World Cup miracle beckons for Syria, China

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Hong Kong (AFP) – War-torn Syria as well as China, the ultimate sleeping giants, are both aiming to pull off a near-miracle as Asian qualifying for the 2018 World Cup heads into a final showdown on Tuesday.

Among Asia’s heavyweights, Australia’s progress is far from assured and South Korea are in danger of missing out on their first World Cup since 1982 in what will be a nail-biting last round of group games.

Japan into World Cup as China, Syria stay alive

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Saitama (Japan) (AFP) – Japan beat Australia Thursday to qualify for their sixth successive World Cup but South Korea missed a golden opportunity to join them in Russia when they could only draw against 10-man Iran.

The goalless draw in Seoul means South Korea’s hopes of qualifying from Group A for their ninth successive finals were left hanging in the balance when a win would have booked their ticket to Russia.

Japan into World Cup as China, Syria stay alive

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Saitama (Japan) (AFP) – Japan beat Australia Thursday to qualify for their sixth successive World Cup but South Korea missed a golden opportunity to join them in Russia when they could only draw against 10-man Iran.

The goalless draw in Seoul means South Korea’s hopes of qualifying from Group A for their ninth successive finals were left hanging in the balance when a win would have booked their ticket to Russia.

War-torn Syria keep World Cup hopes alive

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Omar Kharbin struck twice as war-torn Syria gave their 2018 World Cup dreams a huge boost with a 3-1 win over Qatar in Melaka, Malaysia, on Tuesday.

The result propelled Syria, forced to play all their home games in Malaysia because of the civil war back home, to third position in Group A and a potential playoff spot.

Late Syria strike dims China’s World Cup hopes

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Ahmad Al Salih’s injury-time free kick dealt China’s already faint World Cup hopes another body blow as they were held 2-2 by Syria on Tuesday.

China had fought back from Syria’s first-half penalty to lead 2-1 before the bearded Al Salih skilfully converted from the edge of the ‘D’ in the third added minute.

Late Syria strike dims China’s World Cup hopes

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Ahmad Al Salih’s injury-time free kick dealt China’s already faint World Cup hopes another body blow as they were held 2-2 by Syria on Tuesday.

China had fought back from Syria’s first-half penalty to lead 2-1 before the bearded Al Salih skilfully converted from the edge of the ‘D’ in the third added minute.

Kagawa injury hits Japan World Cup qualifying preparations

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Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s World Cup qualifying preparations were dealt a blow Wednesday when playmaker Shinji Kagawa suffered a shoulder injury in a 1-1 home draw with Syria.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was stretchered off just nine minutes into the Tokyo friendly clutching his left shoulder after an awkward fall, and could be in doubt for next week’s Asian qualifier against Iraq.

Kagawa injury hits Japan World Cup qualifying preparations

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Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s World Cup qualifying preparations were dealt a blow Wednesday when playmaker Shinji Kagawa suffered a shoulder injury in a 1-1 home draw with Syria.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was stretchered off just nine minutes into the Tokyo friendly clutching his left shoulder after an awkward fall, and could be in doubt for next week’s Asian qualifier against Iraq.

Iran beat China, Australia get crucial win

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Tehran (AFP) – Iran’s Mehdi Taremi dealt China’s World Cup hopes a major blow on Tuesday, as Australia grabbed a crucial win over UAE to stay in the hunt for an automatic spot at Russia 2018.

Japan ended Thailand’s campaign with a 4-0 victory in Saitama, and South Korea squeezed past Syria 1-0 to get back on track after last week’s upset to China.

Iran beat China, Australia get crucial win

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Tehran (AFP) – Iran’s Mehdi Taremi dealt China’s World Cup hopes a major blow on Tuesday, as Australia grabbed a crucial win over UAE to stay in the hunt for an automatic spot at Russia 2018.

Japan ended Thailand’s campaign with a 4-0 victory in Saitama, and South Korea squeezed past Syria 1-0 to get back on track after last week’s upset to China.

South Korea squeeze past Syria 1-0 in World Cup qualifier

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Seoul (AFP) – Hong Jeong-Ho’s early goal gave South Korea a 1-0 win over war-torn Syria on Tuesday to put their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.

China-based Hong struck in the fourth minute but it was an unconvincing margin of victory for the Koreans, who were upset 1-0 by China last week.

Aleppo football fans cheer first home game in years

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Aleppo (Syria) (AFP) Syrians cheered excitedly in an Aleppo stadium on Saturday as they watched their first live football match in the war-ravaged city in years.

The Ittihad club beat Hurriya 2-1 in their first match on home turf since rebels took east Aleppo in 2012, dividing the northern city into a regime-held west and rebel-controlled east.

Qatar edge Syria to keep World Cup dream alive

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Doha (AFP) Qatar salvaged some hope of reaching the 2018 World Cup finals with a narrow and desperately needed victory against Syria in a crucial Group A Asian qualifier on Tuesday.

The 1-0 victory, secured by a first half Hasan Al-Haydos penalty, brought to an end a run of three consecutive group defeats.

China football chief consoles players after shock Syria upset

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Beijing (AFP) The chief of China's football association has told the country's players not to lose their confidence, after the team's embarrassing loss to war-torn Syria jeopardised hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The national side's 0-1 defeat Thursday before a home crowd of 40,000 in the northern Chinese city of Xi'an had enraged fans, spurring many to call for the sacking of China's football association president Cai Zhenhua.

International football

Modern Football Is Rubbish: Australia Captain Tim Cahill Performed ‘Sponsored’ Goal Celebration After Scoring In World Cup Play-Off Against Syria (Photos)

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Ugh. Just when you thought you'd witnessed an untainted bit of genuine sporting drama, the ugly premeditated corporate-funded truth bubbles to the surface to spoil it.

Tim Cahill scored his 49th and 50th goals for his country as Australia squeaked past Syria in the Asian play-offs to keep their World Cup qualification aspirations alive.

World Cup Qualifying: Tim Cahill Scores Couple Of Trademark Headers As Australia See Off Syria In Asian Play-Off (Photos & Video)

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A 1-1 draw in the first leg in Melaka last Thursday meant that the World Cup play-off decider between Australia and Syria was poised on a knife-edge going into the second.

After battling so hard to get this far, Syria's dreams were eventually ended by a vintage captain's innings from Tim Cahill, who scored twice in a match that ended up going the full distance in Sydney.

It’s All Too Beautiful: Commentator Breaks Down In Tears As Syria Keep World Cup Dream Alive With 93rd-Minute Equaliser Against Iran (Photo & Video)

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Syria's utterly inspirational journey toward qualifying for their first ever World Cup was kept alive in the most dramatic of circumstances on Tuesday evening.

Trailing 2-1 against rivals Iran as injury time wicked away, it looked for all the world like the dream was over.

However, Syria suddenly wrestled back possession and, on his first call-up in five years, Omar al-Soma broke clear on the break to slot a 93rd-minute equaliser through the legs of Iran 'keeperAli Beiranvand.