After an absence of almost eight years, Iraq are back in the final round of an Asian Zone FIFA World Cup™ qualifying. A spirited preliminary campaign has given the 2007 Asian champions real hope of going all the way to Brazil 2014, and few would be happier than their coach to see that happen.
The man in question is Artur Antunes Coimbra, better known to fans around the world as Zico. The former Brazil star has pedigree in Asian football, having guided Japan to Asian Cup glory in 2004 and later to a place at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. The 58-year-old has made an equally encouraging start to life in charge of Iraq, leading the Lions of Mesopotamia to the last round of Asian qualifying.
Ahead of the final matchday of round three on 29 February, Zico spoke to FIFA.com about his experience with Iraq so far and gave his predictions for the rest of the preliminary tournament.