Iraq edge North Korea to complete last eight line-up

Doha: Holders Iraq overcame an ultra defensive North Korea 1-0 in a drab match to set up an Asian Cup quarter-final clash with Australia.

Three-times winners Iran, who had already won the group and will play South Korea in the last eight, made nine changes to their team but still beat United Arab Emirates 3-0.

Iran finished Group D with nine points from three matches with Iraq second on six. North Korea and UAE exited the tournament with one point apiece having failed to score a goal.

The quarter-final against Australia, the best FIFA ranked side in the tournament, will bring Iraq`s German coach Wolfgang Sidka up against his compatriot Holger Osieck.

"I know him very well," Sidka told reporters. "Unfortunately two German coaches play each other in the quarter-finals, I would like to see him later on."

The match will be the second successive tournament the pair have clashed after Iraq beat Australia 3-1 in the group stages of the tournament four years ago.

Iraq opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk fell backwards after parrying a 25-metre drive from Mustafa Kareem, allowing Kerrar Jasim to convert into an unguarded net.

The goal should have sparked the Koreans, who needed to win to advance, but they continued with their safety first mentality and were restricted to shots from distance.

Not even their 200 supporters, all wearing a neat shirt and tie, could bring their team out of their shells. Led by an excitable choreographer, the Korean fans chanted, waved flags and pumped their fists in unison throughout the drab contest.

Bureau Report