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Asian Cup: Iraq end Japan’s 11-match winning streak

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Iraq pulled off a stunning upset against Asian Cup favourites Japan, winning 2-1 as Aymen Hussein scored two first-half headers. 

The defeat marked Japan’s first Asian Cup group-stage loss in 26 matches, breaking their 11-game winning streak. Iraq ranked 63 in the world compared to Japan’s 17, displayed power and aggression, securing a vital victory at the Education City Stadium in Qatar.

Despite Liverpool’s Wataru Endo pulling one back in injury time, Iraq held on for the historic win, earning six points after their earlier triumph against Indonesia. They now face Vietnam in their final group game. 

With three points from beating Vietnam in their opener, Japan will meet Indonesia in their last group match. The loss puts Japan on a potential collision course with South Korea in the knockout rounds.

Hussein, making a significant impact with five changes in the starting lineup, headed home the first goal after Japan’s goalkeeper failed to handle a cross. 

He struck again in injury time, securing Iraq’s triumph. Japan had a penalty overturned by VAR in the second half, and despite their efforts, they couldn’t break through Iraq’s resilience.

This defeat adds an element of uncertainty to Japan’s tournament journey, as they will now face Indonesia with the hope of progressing to the knockout stage. 

Iraq’s remarkable victory positions them favorably in the group and raises their prospects in the Asian Cup.

 

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