Iraqi national football team players train in Basra ahead of the match. AFP / HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI
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Sport beats politics in Iraq-Saudi Arabia clashWith his social media campaign welcoming Saudi Arabia's football team to Iraq – "Greens, you're at home!" – Arkan Taqi has broken a taboo in his hometown Basra, close to the Iranian border. On the eve of a friendly match between Iraq and Saudi Arabia Wednesday that marks the return of international football to the city, Arkan and around a dozen supporters hope they have changed minds in Basra, an overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim city, as they await Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia.It is the first time football-mad Iraq, who almost made the cut for the 2018 World Cup themselves, have hosted an international match since 1990 .With this friendly, Iraq aim to strengthen their case with world football governing body FIFA to lift the ban on them hosting competitive international matches.
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