Indonesian newspaper says Iraq will defeat Vietnam

By Hoang An   June 10, 2024 | 10:41 pm PT
Indonesian newspaper says Iraq will defeat Vietnam
Striker Mohanad Ali (number 10) scores a header in the last minute to help Iraq win 1-0 against Vietnam at My Dinh Stadium, Hanoi, in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on Nov. 21, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Luong
According to Liputan, Indonesia don't need to worry about their chances of advancing to the 2026 World Cup third qualifying round, because Iraq will defeat Vietnam.

The first of three reasons the newspaper article gave is that Iraq wants to maintain their position in the FIFA world rankings. They will gain 6.9 points if they win, lose 5.6 points for a draw, and then drop a whopping 18.1 points if they lose to Vietnam.

Iraq are 58th in the world and they can surpass Slovenia or Paraguay if they beat Vietnam. If they fail, their position can be overtaken by South Africa or Ireland.

FIFA rankings are used to seed teams at international tournaments, and Iraq need to be in a good position to avoid strong teams in the third qualifying round for the 2026 World Cup. After five wins in the second qualifying round, Iraq have secured first place in group F and will head to the third round.

The second reason is Iraq coach Casas' motivation and desire to prove his ability.

After losing to Jordan in the round of 16 of the 2023 Asian Cup, the 51-year-old coach was attacked and threatened by an Iraqi reporter. The Iraq Football Association (IFA) had to intervene and ensure the future of Casas with the team. A victory over Vietnam will help the IFA, and all of Iraq, believe in him.

"Indonesia don’t need to worry," Liputan wrote, before mentioning the third reason, which it deemed "pride."

"Casas and the players want to win this game for the fans at Basra Stadium, as well as the Iraqi people in general. With these three reasons, Iraq will not play poorly against Vietnam. But instead of putting their fate In the hands of another team, Indonesia need to decide their own [destiny] by beating Philippines."

However, Arab media reported that Casas will use several reserve players in the game with Vietnam.

But even if that is true, Iraq will still enjoy homefield advantage and are still rated higher than their Vietnamese guests.

The final fixture of group F in the 2026 World Cup second qualifying round will take place on Tuesday. Indonesia will host Philippines, and they could advance to the third qualifying round for the first time with a victory. If Indonesia draw, Vietnam will advance if they beat Iraq. If Indonesia lose, Vietnam will only need a draw to advance.

The Indonesia-Philippines game will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday while Iraq will host Vietnam at 1 a.m. on Wednesday (Hanoi time).

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