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Syria - So close

Despite all their problems at home, Syria have been having a fairy tale run at qualifying for the World Cup, reaching the penultimate qualifying round. Sadly today they lost in extra time to Australia missing out on a last minute equaliser and penalties by the width of the post.

While the latest doping scandals and the latest tale of premiership abuse can often present sport in a negative light, every now and then a truly heart-lifting story comes along to demonstrate what a force for good it can be. Well done Syria. What a shame you just missed out at the end.



  • Indeed @Devc. A footballing story with a heart and very upsetting for President Assad his Russian allies and anyone he isn't gassing.

  • In fact Syria would have gone through on away goals if they scored in 120th min, there would never have been penalties after Australia went 2-1 up.

  • Are we really sad that a team being used as a propaganda tool by a vicious dictator, whose regime has imprisoned former players, one of whom died in prison, did not make it to the World Cup? Not me. Don't be surprised if Putin has another team accidentally bombed to let them in on a wildcard.

  • Whilst Assad is a horrible dictator, sadly the alternatives are probably just as bad, i.e. IS or the rebels who are largely comprised of Jihadists. Not sure how the country can ever get back to any sense of normality.

  • @mooneyman you're not wrong...the original revolt hijacked by undesirables...but it might be my age...I must admit I have no interest in a World Cup being held in another proto-dictatorship either! In this case, I just consider that it is hardly the people fighting against adversity who came close to qualifying...

  • I thought it was 11 footballers playing for their country and hoping to bring happiness to their population. How naΓ―ve I am.

  • @DevC yup...surprisingly so.

  • Half the population perhaps...the ones being bombed and gassed...I suspect less interested. But you never know they may have crowded around their plasma screens to cheer on their boys...

  • You may distrust the Independent but just in passing:

    'More than 100 professional footballers have been β€œdisappeared” by regime forces over the last six years, subject to torture and other brutal treatment in some of the most notorious of President Bashar al-Assad’s prisons.

    At least three have been confirmed dead, their mutilated and starved bodies identified in the famous 2014 images leaked from Sadnaya prison outside Damascus and other military facilities, including the former captain of the national team, Jihad Qassab.'

    I'm sure being asked by the glorious leader to play...was a great honour. That they did not have to consider too long before agreeing.

  • There are many comments to be made about the situation in Syria, Wendover. It is an extremely complicated situation. you see good guys and bad guys - I see only bad guys with different levels of badness. Our record of picking good guys in the Middle East is not strong. A conversation about the political merits of the various options in respect of Syria is perhaps better held on a politics forum.

    Meanwhile what I do see is a team of footballers conquering adversity on a remarkable journey but just missing out on a major prize. Personally I think that is a story worth noting and a shame they didn't quite achieve their ultimate goal. Each to their own though.

  • Politics on a football forum, eh? I would blame the fool who started this thread. Dead people aside. I don't see 'good guys and bad guys' @Devc and anyone (except the Mango in Chief) who thinks middle eastern politics is simple is a buffoon, but to suggest a football team playing for a Russian/Iranian backed dictator living in the government controlled areas of the country is 'conquering adversity' is stretching it a bit. Each to his own though.

  • Quick, richie, wheres Ruth?

  • The Russian/Iranian backed dictator may well be a better option than whoever it is we support this week.

    I see that team conquering adversity. You just see (simplistic) politics.

  • These are the types of discussions that start up when the team is on a winning run. It's a shame Syria couldn't get over the line today and to run Australia so close is a major achievement. Sport is sport though.
    How though, in a regionalised qualification, are Syria and Australia playing each other in the first place?

  • All this time and I've never been properly @DevC ed before. Glad to discuss things with someone who does not make simplistic statements and then accuse other people of making simplistic statements. Looking forward to seeing the boys overcome adversity and entertain us with another win on Saturday. (wipes tear away with corner of Guardian...)

  • Mr Katerji twitter account suggests he is very much on the rebel side politically. The ESPN side appears to follow the US political line too - as well as bizarrely describing a player that has earned millions from playing football (allegedly) as "runty".

    Syria is an extremely complex situation. Assad is undoubtedly a monster. The rebel leaders just as bad. We in the West seem to be unclear whether to bomb Assad to help the rebels or the rebels to help Assad. it is unclear that our intervention would improve the situation anymore than we did in say iraq or libya. I have no answers how to solve this problem, but if you do suggest you email them to [email protected]

    meanwhile I'll continue to celebrate the efforts of a football team achieving remarkable things against the odds whoever obnoxious the head of State of their country may be.

  • keep politics out of sport @eric_plant

  • What an absurd comment. How can you possibly leave politics out of sport if a murderous dictator is using a team as a propaganda tool?

    You do what you want Dev, but spare a thought for the players who couldn't take the field against Australia because they've been "disappeared"

  • I spare a thought for all the many victims of the Syrian conflict killed by the brutality of all sides. I have yet to see the good guys in the political conflict.

    I celebrate those footballers who were able to take part's sporting achievement.

  • edited October 2017

    Perleeeese @eric_plant I was absurdly is my wont. I assume @DevC is now just running with the ball.

  • Cool, good for you Dev

    Apologies Wendoverman, took it at face value!

  • Christ @DevC that really was pompous. Who was saying they have the answers? You simplistically celebrated the Syrian team. I simplistically told you why I don't. Although I'm sure the UN is pleased you have them on speed dial - get over yersen.

  • i think someone here needs to find the real reason why Syria is being attacked rather than what the mainstream media say's. I'll give you a clue, it's got something to do with a pipeline that benefits the US, the U.K. And other EU states.

    That being said I for one also am gutted for their national team, must be hard competing for a World Cup when the rest of the world is bombing the heck out of your fellow countrymen.

  • Just as soon as we've negotiated peace between the Gasroom and The Yoof.

  • @StrongestTeam - agreed, but after reading the opening and well observed post, it was as if this post had suddenly been taken over by the BBC. I love to see a plucky underdog make it to the world cup and it is a shame they just missed out.

  • @fedup1980 I am British but I am not the BBC.

  • I believe @wendoverman is pretty much the opposite of the BBC.

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