News Article

India take on giants Iraq In vital AFC U-16 Championship Qualifier

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar


The Junior Colts need a win to guarantee qualification for the main event.

India may have failed to get all three points in their thrilling 2-2 draw against Nepal a few days back, but they need to be fully focused on the task ahead as they face the intimidating Iraq U-16 team in a do-or-die match for the Junior Colts. Bibiano Fernandes' boys need to get a win to guarantee qualification for the AFC U-16 Championship, but anything apart from that will see their fate rest on the game between Palestine and Nepal.

The young Tigers had a tough match against resilient Nepal a few days back and a brace from super-sub Harpreet couldn't get them all three points which would've tied them on points with Iraq, who have been dominant in the qualifiers so far. They defeated both Palestine and Nepal in convincing fashion and will look to do a sweep against India, who will have to be at their best in order to contain the dangerous West Asian.

The Colts have to show the attacking prowess which helped them win the recent SAFF U-16 Championship and will need to play attacking, positive football in order to get something out of this game as anything but a result could seriously hamper their chances of qualification for the AFC U-16 Championship.

Team News

India are unlikely to make many changes to the team because despite not getting the win, they played really well especially in the second half. Super-sub Harpreet may get a start in the game against Iraq by replacing Lalchhanhima Sailo who was rather ineffective in the game against Nepal last time out. Thoiba Singh may also be rotated in the match and the strong defender Shabas Ahammed may be drafted into the team by Fernandes to help provide a bit more steel to India's defense, who will have to be especially good on the day.

Iraq aren't expected to make many changes to the team either, as they'll want to confirm their qualification with a win and will not underestimate India by playing a weakened team. They've already displayed how good their power from the bench is as well, as substitute Salah Ghazi Talib scored the all-important winner against Nepal. Iraq will not want to letgo of their strong hold on Group D and they will make things really difficult for the desperate Indian side as well.

Head To Head

India U-16 and Iraq U-16 haven't faced each other in competitive games in the past, but this game will be an extremely crucial one especially for the former.

Man To Watch

India U-16: Vikram Pratap Singh

India U-16 captain Vikram Pratap Singh had a surprisingly off day against Nepal, despite having a great record against them. The young colt scored in India's SAFF U-16 Championship final victory over Nepal and has been a vital part of the team's recent success. The captain will need to step up if India are to topple the dangerous Iraq in this all-important match and knowing his unpredictability, he can easily turn the tide in the game. The striker has shown an immense will to score and is a tactically sound player because of his movement, pace and finishing ability and Fernandes' captain will need to regain his form and marshal his team to take Iraq by storm.

Iraq U-16: Hasan Salman Shanan

Iraq have been a lethal force in attack in the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers so far as they dominated both Nepal and Palestine in convincing wins. A vital part of their attack is Hasan Salman Shanan who has looked extremely dangerous whenever he has gotten the ball in the last two games. Salman scored a belter against Palestine to give his side the lead and his long-range efforts are extremely dangerous and something India will find difficult to contain. The Iraqi attacker will definitely be a menace for the Indian defense with his movement and ball-striking ability and things could get really difficult for the young Tigers if Salman finds his groove in this important match.

Also Read

India defeat hosts Bhutan 3-0 in SAFF U-18 Championships with a Lalawmpuia special

The Indian final squad for FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 is here!

India held by Nepal in thrilling AFC U-16 Qualifier

Probable Line-Ups

India U-16: Jongte, Shabas Ahammed, Harpreet Singh, Gurkirat Singh, Samir Kerketta, Ravi Bahadur Rana, Givson Singh, Ricky John, Harpreet, Vikram Pratap Singh(C), Bekey Oram.

Iraq U-16: Mohammed Hasan, Hussain Jasim Al Lateef, Mostafa Irmayyidh Muhi, Ahmed Ali Albu Daraj, Ahmed Ayad Al Hilfi(C), Mohammed Ridha, Murtadha Ahmed, Mohammed Luay, Abdulrazzar Qasim, Mohammed Sadeq, Hasan Salman Shanan.


The match will be streamed live on


Published: Sat Sep 23, 2017 08:46 PM IST


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