Iraq "battled adversity" to reach Asian Cup finals

Iraq coach Akram Salman has paid tribute to the way his side battled adversity to reach the Asian Cup finals. Iraq beat Singapore 4-2, ensuring their place in the finals from Group E alongside China, who beat Palestine 2-0. Salam said people did not realise how difficult it had been for his side to focus on their football as war ravaged their homeland.

"We have a lot of problems, the biggest being that we play all our matches away from home and that is a massive disadvantage," he told AFP. "We also have problems in training and we have worries about the safety of our families and friends back home. They have more worries than most people think. Yet they put up a brave face and put their heart and soul to play and win for their country."