Hamad confident Iraq can win 'last chance'

June 6, 2008

DUBAI, June 6 (Reuters) - Despite a string of poor performances, Iraq coach Adnan Hamad is confident his beleaguered team can beat frontrunners Australia on Saturday and keep their hopes of World Cup qualification alive.

'We seem to be improving every day,' Hamad told Friday's Gulf News. 'The team has got better with each game and that is a very encouraging sign for us.'

The Asian champions are bottom of Group 1 and must win their make-or-break match against the surging Socceroos to stand any chance of progressing to the final round of qualifiers.

After winning the Asian Cup in 2007, Iraq's form has plummeted, with only one competitive victory in almost a year.

They lost 1-0 to Australia last week but squandered a host of chances in match they could have won.

'We dominated the game against Australia and we did not make use of the chances that came our way,' Hamad was quoted as saying. 'We cannot commit the same mistakes again on Saturday.'

Australia lead the group on seven points, trailed by Qatar (4) and China (3), with Iraq on a single point.

Australia's Serie A-based midfielder Mark Bresciano said the Socceroos should not underestimate their opponents in the game set to be played in Dubai.

'Dubai is their last chance,' he told reporters. 'We have hurt them, they are badly injured but they are not finished quite yet.

'There is still something left in this group for them.'