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Iran fails to defeat Syria in WCQ

Iran fails to defeat Syria in WCQ”

The 3-1 win over Qatar propelled Syria to third position in Group A and a potential playoff spot as they took advantage of Uzbekistan's slip-up.

The Aussies need to beat Thailand to at least guarantee a play-off spot.

The result pushed Australia into third in Group B and a place in the playoffs, where they will meet Syria, who drew 2-2 with Iran to finish third in Group A.

"Nobody thought Syria could be a candidate for qualifying for the World Cup but now the Syrian team is on the verge of winning the World Cup place", Queiroz said in the pre-match news conference. "If you don't play well you leave things to chance, and we don't want to leave things to chance". It will also be a boost for President Bashar Assad, who is eager to project strength and normalcy on the world stage while his forces continue to recapture territory on the ground.

Shin will extend his tenure as far as next summer when the 2002 semifinalists will try to bounce back from a dismal showing at the 2014 World Cup.

"I have promised customers desserts on the house if we win", said Ali, who has plastered a massive poster of the national team on the wall. "For me, the Syrian team's qualification would give me more pleasure than if my (army) service was ending", the young man told AFP by telephone.

With stars such as Omar Al Soma and Firas Al Khatib returning to the team and in good form, there's still potential for an upset win.

"This team, we support it and we don't support it", said Ghaith al-Sayyed, a young resident of the town of Binnish in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Omar Al Soma's dramatic 93rd-minute goal leaves the nation one step away from their first tournament appearance despite six years of bitter fighting and population displacement wracking the country.

Iran fails to defeat Syria in WCQ

Later in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia pulled off a deserved victory over Japan courtesy of half-time substitute Al Muwallad's fiercely hit victor in the 63rd minute. Some called it a team that represents the Government, while others shared pictures of athletes and football players who were killed during the war.

Opposition activists are divided over the team.

"They're our bogey team, it's a fact", Ahmedov added.

Syria also managed to beat China by a whole point, with Qatar finishing rock-bottom of the group.

The politics of Syria's run has not been lost on anyone.

War-torn Syria as well as China, the ultimate sleeping giants, are both aiming to pull off a near-miracle as Asian qualifying for the 2018 World Cup heads into a final showdown today.

The omens were good: Iran had already finished top of the group, and gone through to Russian Federation 2018, so was playing for pride.

"I am very proud of my players", Syria coach Ayman Hakeem said.

"There is no plan to allow the presence of women in Azadi stadium for the Iran-Syria match", it said in a statement, blaming a "technical glitch".



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