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Iraqis Upset By Team's Early Exit From Soccer Tourney

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi sports officials echoed the disappointment of the national soccer team's fans after Iraq was knocked out of the Gulf Cup with a 4-0 loss to Oman on January 7.

One Iraqi told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that "[the team's] morale was very bad. But it is the fault of the players and [Coach Jorvan Vieira of Brazil]."

Five regular players did not play against Oman due to injuries and suspensions.

Sports Minister Jassim Muhammad Jaafar said in Muscat, the capital of Oman where the games were played, that a committee will investigate the reasons for Iraq's poor play. And Iraqi Soccer Federation head Husseyn Said apologized to the Iraqi people.

Iraq, which won the Asian championship last year, lost to Bahrain 3-1 in their first game in Oman.