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Malmö set for first-ever Brazil-Iraq football clash

Malmö set for first-ever Brazil-Iraq football clash

Published: 10 Oct 2012 08:49 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Oct 2012 08:49 GMT+02:00

Brazil and Iraq will meet in a full international for the first time this Thursday - but both will be far from home as they take each other on in far-flung Malmö, Sweden.

Iraq are at least banking on some 'home' support to the extent that their compatriots are the largest immigrant community in this, Sweden's third city.

"Organizing this historic encounter wasn't easy," says Marc Biolley of Matchworld Group, who have set up the meeting between the five-time world champions and an Iraq side coached by ... former Brazil legend Zico.

The Iraqis turned to Swiss promoter Biolley with world body FIFA refusing to allow them to play home matches following a chaotic match against Jordan in the city of Erbil, capital of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

Iraq were also keen to meet some top-drawer opponents as they gear up for their October 16th World Cup qualifier against Australia in Doha.

Brazil fitted the bill nicely, particularly as they were otherwise free in an international week having already qualified as hosts for 2014.

The auriverde won an August friendly here but also lifted their first World Cup here in 1958 at the Råsunda stadium in nearly Solna.

The logistics make sense for Brazil also in that many of their top stars play for European clubs.

Those stars include Paris Saint Germain defender Thiago Silva but also Real Madrid veteran Kaka, who is slated to win his 83rd cap two years on from his last appearance.

The Brazilian roadshow will move on four days later to a meeting with Japan in Wroclaw, Poland.

The Iraqis have just one Europe-based player in Ahmed Yasin, who plays for Swedish top-flight side Örebro.

Malmö counts some 10,000 Iraqi inhabitants out of the overall 125,000 Iraqi nationals who live in Sweden. In addition, Denmark, home to a further 30,000 Iraqis according to official figures, is just across the Öresund Bridge.

Home club Malmö, three points behind league leaders Elfsborg with four games of the Swedish season remaining, stand to make a million kronor ($148,000) from loaning out their 21,000-capacity Swedbank ground, though the club did not confirm the figure.

Club spokesman Per Welinder indicated he felt Thursday's match would not be a sellout.

"We hope there will be a good crowd - but we're not there yet," he said Monday.

AFP/The Local

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Your comments about this article

09:59 October 10, 2012 by Rishonim
I guess the organizers are assuming since most Brasilian football players come from ugly rough areas, they most feel comfortable playing in violent and ugly Malmö.
16:36 October 10, 2012 by Greysuede
What Sweden has got to do with Iraq???
16:52 October 10, 2012 by Grokh
@Rishonim the ugly rough areas you are talking about are all but ugly some have million dollar villaes with million dollar views.

If you haven't lived in Brasil then you dont know anything about Brasil so i'd appreciate if you didnt talk about Brasil.

Because as much as some overcrowded favelas are , there is no anti semitism nor groups of neighbourhoods ran by 1 ethnicity that harasses away other ethnicities.

Malmö is where 90% of the weird stuff in sweden happens >_
18:26 October 10, 2012 by Rishonim
@Grokh,

I actually own an apartments on Freire Street, São Paulo and I am there every 6 weeks. You dont know me so I would appreciate you dont assume I know nothing of Brasil. Yet, you are right about no anti semetism in Brasil. At least not openly. This is largely due to the anti racism legislation of 1988
20:36 October 10, 2012 by Richard Head
@ Greysuade- Sweden has A LOT to do with Iraq. In fact, Sweden will be a replica of Iraq in about 100-150 years. It's especially amusing that The Local makes this sound as if the location is some random occurrence. Everyone knows that this is a home match for Iraq and that's fine. It's a long shot but I just hope that their fans can hold back their natural urge to behave like animals and not storm the pitch as they did at the Gothia Cup in 2010. PM me for the video b/c TL won't let me post it.
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