December 29, 2018 / 9:23 AM / 18 days ago

Factbox - Iraq at the Asian Cup

(Reuters) - Factbox on Iraq ahead of the Asian Cup, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates from Jan 5 to Feb 1:

FIFA world ranking: 88

Ranking in Asia: 11

Previous Asian Cups: 8

Best performance: Champions (2007)

2015: Fourth place

Nickname: Lions of Mesopotamia

Coach: Srecko Katanec

Regular captain: Mohammed Gassid

Player to watch: Bashar Resan

Recent form:

Sep 10 Kuwait 2-2 Iraq Ardiyah

Oct 11 Iraq 0-4 Argentina Riyadh

Oct 15 Saudi Arabia 1-1 Iraq Riyadh

Nov 20 Iraq 0-0 Bolivia Dubai

Dec 24 Iraq 2-1 China Doha

Fixtures:

Group D

Jan 8 Iraq v Vietnam Abu Dhabi

Jan 12 Yemen v Iraq Sharjah

Jan 16 Iran v Iraq Dubai

Champions when they defied the odds in 2007, circumstances have scarcely improved for the Lions of Mesopotamia since, with security concerns back home having a major impact on preparations.

They reached the semi-finals in 2015, when they lost to South Korea, but many of the big name players that fired that campaign have since retired.

Slovenian coach Srecko Katanec took over in September but his side have struggled to find the net this year, which might complicate their passage from Group D into the knockout stages.

Compiled by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien

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