Last-Minute Equalizer Keeps Syria Somehow Alive In World Cup Qualifying

07 September, 2017, 02:07 | Author: Yolanda Murray
  • Korea advances to World Cup after playing Uzbekistan to 0-0 draw

If the Syrians beat Iran in Tehran in their final group match on Tuesday, they would be guaranteed to finish at least third.

"The team represents all of Syria and we hope they will win in the play-offs and go on to qualify for the World Cup", he said.

"They asked if we could be present in the Azadi stadium for the game Iran-Syria".

China, bidding to improve on their world ranking of 77th and become one of the globe's top football nations, again missed out despite their 2-1 win over Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts.

A double from Sardar Azmoun looked to have given Iran all three points until Al Soma - playing only his second match for Syria since his return from a self-imposed exile - slid the ball through Beiranvand's legs to level deep into stoppage time.

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Omar al-Soma, who had not played for Syria in five years, returned from Saudi Arabia and was the hero with the tying goal.

The middle-eastern side had a chance to qualify automatically with a win against the team who had already qualified and took an early lead but couldn't hang on till half-time when Iran scored from a corner. On Tuesday afternoon in the same stadium, Syria kept their unlikely World Cup hopes with a last-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 against the Asian giants. The battle is won but the war - to use this unfortunate pun to best illustrate the Syrian challenge - is yet to be won.

Syria will play Australia in a two-match Asian series next month. The victor will then take on a team from the Concacaf confederation which covers north and central America, and the Caribbean.

"With high spirits and unlimited support, the face of luck supports the Saudi team to reach the World Cup", the government tweeted on its official Vision 2030 page.

Football. 2018 World Cup.

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It won't be the first time the Syrian spirit has been tested and Ayman Hakeem will not budge in front of the challenge.

Iran took first with an impressive 22 points, winning six, drawing four and losing zero of their ten games.

The devastating six-year conflict in Syria has ruined the country's football industry, with sports stadiums trashed and numerous national players moving to Arab or Asian countries to play.

Fans had mixed emotions after a hard qualifying campaign that included shock defeats by China and Qatar.

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