Less than 24 hours after they landed in Kolkata, Iraq national team headed to a private club for a gruelling two-hour practice session ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, starting October 6.
The 21-member Iraqi team, who landed at 2.10 am this morning, headed to the club at 3pm to train under the watchful eyes of coach Qahtan Jathir and six support staff in a close door session.
The team members were seen playing against each other before a drill and the team media officer said it was “very good” and will train again tomorrow.
The war-ravaged country defeated Iran to become Asian champions last year and qualified for their second U-17 World Cup.
Making a comeback after their only appearance in UAE in 2013, it will be a test of character for Iraq, who are placed in group of death featuring heavyweights Mexico, Chile and England.
They will face Mexico in their Group F World Cup opener at Salt Lake Stadium on October 8.
Iraq would hope to better their last place finish in 2013 when they lost all three of their matches against Sweden, Mexico and Nigeria, the teams that eventually claimed first, second and third places in the tournament.
Iraq emerged victorious in the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship after defeating Iran in the final to become Asian champions for the first time.
All eyes will be on the 16-year-old Mohammed Dawood, who led the turnaround for their historic feat last year.
He made a welcome breakthrough against Oman in Iraq’s final group-stage match, and then notched a brace against Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals and a hat-trick versus Japan in the last-four to emerge top goalscorer and player of the tournament in the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship.