Iraq vs New Zealand preview

Game : Iraq vs New Zealand

Competition : Confederations Cup 2009, Group A

Venue : Coca Cola Park, Johannesburg

Date : 20 June 2009, Saturday, 20.30 South African Standard Time

Iraq face whipping boys New Zealand in a must win Confederations Cup game in Johannesburg on Saturday night.

The Lions of Mesopotamia need to win their game, and hope that Spain beat South Africa in the other game. In such a situation, it would come down to goal difference, and should both the teams still be equal then, the qualifier will be decided by the toss of a coin.

Iraq played very well against Spain, and held their own against La Furia Roja. Their defence did not crack in the first half, despite countless Spanish attempts to breach it. Goalkeeper Kassid was finally beaten when David Villa rose to meet Joan Capdevila’s cross early in the second half. Iraq gave Spain some nervous moments in the end as they searched for an equaliser, but Vicente Del Bosque’s men held their nerve and booked a spot in the last four of the tournament.

Iraq form- last five games-all competitions- Iraq scorers in brackets

Iraq 0-1 Spain
Iraq 0-0 South Africa
Iraq 1-1 Poland ( Mahdi Kareem)
Qatar 1-0 Iraq
South Korea 2-1 Iraq ( OG )

New Zealand are still searching for their first point in the Confederations Cup, and the All Whites put in another disappointing performance as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat in their last game against South Africa.

New Zealand have missed their best defender- Ryan Nelsen, and the Oceania champions have let in seven goals in this tournament. They have not managed to score even one, and if Iraq’s defence plays as well as it did against Spain and South Africa, the All Whites may have to end up going home without a single goal to their name.

New Zealand results- last five games- all competitions- New Zealand scorers in brackets.

South Africa 2-0 New Zealand
Spain 5-0 New Zealand
Italy 4-3 New Zealand ( Shane Smeltz, Chris Killen*2)
Botswana 0-0 New Zealand
Tanzania 2-1 New Zealand ( Shane Smeltz)

Verdict:- Iraq, on their current form, will be too strong for New Zealand. Bora Milutinovic has said that his side will go all out for the win, and abandon their defensive minded tactics. This will give hope to New Zealand, for if they can sneak in a goal early, the momentum of the game will swing in their favour.

Iraq 1-0 New Zealand ( Nashat Akram)

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