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U-17 World Cup: Iraq train for 2 hours amidst fanfare

Iraq will take on Mexico on October 8 in their Group F opener.

IANS | Kolkata |

Iraq on Monday sweated it out for two hours at the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club (CCFC), six days ahead of their first FIFA Under-17 World Cup game at the Salt Lake Stadium here.

Amidst much fanfare during the team’s arrival at around 3:40 p.m. in the afternoon, the Iraqi footballers entered the CCFC premises with many colts seen clicking selfies with the crowd in the background.

“Practice was ok, all good,” a team official told IANS at the time of leaving.

During practice the players, coached by Qahtan Jathir, were seen in a relaxed mood and seemed to soak in the hullabaloo around them.

Iraq, alongwith England and Chile who practiced after them, are slated to attend the Durga Puja immersion parade at Red Road in the city on Tuesday.

The 21-member Iraq squad arrived in the city in the wee hours on Monday.

Iraq will take on Mexico on October 8 in their Group F opener. The other two teams in the group are England and Chile.

The Asian champions have only one U-17 World Cup appearance to their name, at UAE in 2013.

That experience was not particularly memorable as they finished last in Group F.

Iraq emerged victorious from the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship, defeating Iran in the final to become Asian champions for the first time.

After finishing second in Group C, they saw off the challenge of Uzbekistan (2-0) in the quarter-finals, booking their berth in India 2017 in the process.

In the last four, the Iraqi colts eliminated Japan, prior to getting the better of Iran on penalties after the showpiece match had ended 0-0.