The Iraqi Football Association has again selected Iranian capital Tehran as the host city for matches in the decisive qualifying stage for the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Tehran hosted Iraq’s second round matches.
“Iraq has chosen Iran as the venue, for a second time, to host its third round matches of the 2018 World Cup Qualifications because that is in the interest of the national team as there are large numbers of Iraqi supporters there, and a significant number of supporters are able to travel there,” IFA official spokesman Kamil Zaghir said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.
“In the second round we received important support from the fans of the national team, this was the deciding factor in keeping this choice, but we will work on selecting a suitable stadium in Tehran.”
The Lions of the Mesopotamia are joined by Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Thailand in the second group. Zaghir also confirmed that the Iraqi National Team will not play against Saudi Arabia and UAE if they refuse to play in Iran.
“We also have the right to choose a venue to play our matches against them, but we hope that the proceedings will go ahead in a natural way,” Zaghir added regarding the possibility of Saudi Arabia and UAE demanding to play their matches against Iraq in a neutral venue.