National pride drives on Iraq against Socceroos

There may be no World Cup place to play for, but Iraq goalkeeper Noor Sabri is adamant a lack of motivation is not a problem against the Socceroos

The fact they cannot qualify for the World Cup has not diminished Iraq's motivation against Australia because they always play for something more important.

That is the message from goal-keeper Noor Sabri ahead of Tuesday's pivotal qualifier with Australia at ANZ Stadium.

Iraq's hopes of getting to Brazil ended following a 1-0 loss to Japan last Tuesday, meaning they are simply filling the role of party wreckers if they deny the Socceroos an automatic spot with a positive result.

With their two most experienced players - Younis Mahmoud and Nashat Akram - retiring after the loss in Doha, Australia will be met by a youthful and experimental Iraq side.

But Sabri says that focus on the future should not be mistaken for a lack of desire to topple the Socceroos, with their nation's political situation at home always a driving force when they take the field.

"Regardless of what happened last week, we have motivation to do the best for our nation," Noor said through an interpreter on Monday.

"As you know, we have a lot of pressure from fans, this is the only thing that makes them happy.

"So we always think of them and regardless of whether it's a friendly match or a qualifier, we're out to carry the name of our country the best we can.

"[The Socceroos] have a lot of players that play in Europe and when you get a good result against a team like this it makes you very proud and proves how good you are.

"When you get a good result against a team like this, it makes you very proud and proves how good you are - you feel like you can beat any team."

Sabri is one of just two players in the Iraq squad - along with Khaldoun Ibrahim – who beat the Socceroos on their way to winning the 2007 Asian Cup.

The new brigade is made up predominantly of players who will compete at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey later in June.

Sabri said the batch of impressive youngsters will relish the challenge of taking on Australia and the chance to impress new boss Vladimir Petrovic than by claiming a big scalp on the road.

"We've got Humam [Tariq, still just 17] and other young players in our squad who we have a lot of faith in," Sabri told reporters.

"Most of them will be going to the under-20 World Cup in Turkey next week so I think this match is a great opportunity for them to gain experience.

"It's upsetting that we are out of World Cup qualification.

"But yes at least this will be a perfect opportunity for these young players to prove themselves."

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