Syria qualify dramatically for 2018 World Cup play-offs against Australia

Syria settled for a 2-2 draw against Iran, which allowed them to qualify for the 2018 World Cup play-offs.


Syria have incredibly qualified for the World Cup 2018 play-offs. The war-torn countryclaimed a play-off spot in 2018 World Cup qualifying following a 2-2 draw against Iran in Tehran.

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The visitors took a shock lead through Tamer Haj Mohamad's stooping header - the first goal Carlos Queiroz's Iran had conceded in 10 qualifying games. But on the stroke of half-time, SardarAzmoun headed Iran level before giving them a second-half lead.

Syria looked to be heading out, but Omar Al Somah was Syria's hero as he pounced in the 93rd minute to salvage a point and rescue his country's World Cup dream, reports the BBC.

It means Syria finished third in Group A of the Asian World Cup qualification stages on 13 points.

Syria will play Australia in a two-match Asian series next month. To make the World Cup, the winner will then have to beat a team from the Concacaf confederation covering North and Central America, and the Caribbean. Syria will likely play their 'home' match against Australia in Malaysia, as they have during Asian qualifying, due to the ongoing war,as per the Sun.

Back home, the pursuit of a place at the World Cup in Russia has provided a flicker of joy in parts of a country divided by six years of war. Big screens were erected in public squares in the capital Damascus for public screenings and fans also packed into coffee shops and sports halls to watch the broadcast from Iran. Thousands of dancing fans filtered on to the streets chanting Syria and waving the country's flags afterwards, bringing traffic to a complete halt in the city centre.

Outside, the skies lit up with pyrotechnics, some launching red tracers above the thousands of revellers who filled the streets, leaning out of their car windows or marching in the city centre. The upbeat news came on the same day troops reached Deir el-Zour, in eastern Syria, breaching a months-old siege on government troops by Islamic State militants, according to reports from the Guardian.

Iran took first with an impressive 22 points, winning six, drawing four and losing zero of their ten games. South Korea's goalless draw with Uzbekistan allowed them to claim second place in Group A with 15 points in the Asian section and automatic progression to Russia.