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Iraq hosts friendly tournament after 3-decade FIFA ban

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BAGHDAD (AP) Iraq is hosting a friendly soccer tournament this week, with Syria and Qatar.

It comes just days after FIFA lifted a three-decade-long ban on Iraq hosting international competitions.

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An Iraq-Qatar match is to start Wednesday evening in the southern city of Basra.

FIFA lifted the ban on Monday for Iraqi cities of Basra, Karbala and Irbil, considered to be the safest in Iraq – but not the capital, Baghdad, which still sees frequent militant attacks.

Iraq’s minister of youth and sports, Abdul-Hussein Abtan, congratulated the Iraqi people following FIFA’s move and said it would change how Iraq is viewed in the region and beyond.

While the ban was in place, Iraq was still able to host friendly games and tournaments.

STREAM: Final group stage games of men’s Olympics soccer

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The final group games of the men’s soccer tournament at Rio 2016 have arrived and there is still plenty on the line.

[ STREAM: Every game at Rio 2016 live

Most notably host nation Brazil, led by superstar Neymar, needs to beat Denmark to make the quarterfinals. Elsewhere just two of the eight spots for the next stage of the competition are locked up as goal differential could play a factor. Strap in, folks. This promises to be a fun afternoon and evening of Olympic soccer. You can find an explainer of who can qualify here.

Below is a full schedule for when each game is available to watch.

[ MORE: Who can qualify for QF? ]

All you have to do is hit the link above to stream every game live online.


Men’s Group D
Algeria-Portugal
Aug. 10 12:00 p.m. EDT

Men’s Group D
Argentina-Honduras
Aug. 10 12:00 p.m. EDT

Men’s Group C
Germany-Fiji
Aug. 10 3:00 p.m. EDT

Men’s Group C
South Korea-Mexico
Aug. 10 3:00 p.m. EDT

Men’s Group B
Colombia-Nigeria
Aug. 10 6:00 p.m. EDT

Men’s Group B
Japan-Sweden
Aug. 10 6:00 p.m. EDT

Men’s Group A
Denmark-Brazil
Aug. 10 9:00 p.m. EDT

Men’s Group A
South Africa-Iraq
Aug. 10 9:00 p.m. EDT

Suicide bomber kills at least 29 people in Iraq at soccer stadium

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At least 29 people have been reportedly killed in Iraq after a suicide bomber attacked a soccer stadium.

The attack occurred 25 miles south of Baghdad in a village near Iskandariyah and up to 60 others have been injured.

In the stadium a tournament was said to be taking place between youth soccer teams when the suicide bomber struck. 

According to Agence France Presse via Yahoo news, the attack took place at 12 p.m. ET and causalities are continuing to arrive at local hospitals.

“They were just handing the trophy to the winners, the suicide attacker blew himself up in the crowd,” Al-Asriya, a police captain from the village said.

UPDATE: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and have been carrying out suicide bombings in and around the Iraqi capital as government forces step up their battle against them in other areas in the north and west of the country.

Iraq beats Qatar to get last Asian spot in Olympic soccer

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Iraq beat Qatar to earn the last Olympic qualifying place for Asian nations at the Rio de Janeiro Games after a 2-1 win on Friday in a third-place playoff match at the Asian Under-23 Championship in Doha.

The Iraqis join South Korea and Japan – who play in Saturday’s final – as Asia’s three teams in the 16-nation tournament lineup in Brazil.

Qatar hoped to take the Olympics berth as a key stage in its players’ development for the 2022 World Cup it will host, and was just minutes from victory.

In the 86th minute, Mohannad Abdul-Raheem scored for Iraq to level following a 27th-minute goal for Qatar by Ahmed Alaa.

Iraq won it in the 109th through a headed goal by Ayman Hussein.

VIDEO: South Korea beat Iraq to reach first Asian Cup final since 1998

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South Korea reached their first Asian Cup final since 1998, as they defeat Iraq 2-0 in the first semifinal of the 2015 tournament.

In front of plenty of South Korean fans in Sydney on Monday, youngster Lee Jeong-hyeop continued his fine tournament by scoring his second goal so far, as he headed the Koreans into the lead in the first half.

[ RELATED: Iraq beat Iran | Aussies make semis ]

Just after the break South Korea doubled their lead as Young-gwon’s low shot squirmed into the bottom corner after skipping off the greasy surface.

After beating Iran in an epic penalty shootout in the quarterfinals, Iraq could not launch a heroic comeback as their players looked drained from their last-eight exploits. As for the Korean defense, it had yet to be breached in five games at the tournament. That’s 480 minutes without letting in a goal.

South Korea’s players sunk to their knees at the final whistle after reaching the final of the AFC’s showpiece tournament for the first time in 27 years. They will face the winner of Australia or the United Arab Emirates in the final in Sydney on Saturday.

Tuesday’s game

Semifinal – Australia vs. UAE: 4 a.m. ET