A little more than two weeks ago, 21 of Iraq’s most-talented teenage footballers boarded a flight from Baghdad to contest the FIFA U17 World Cup in India. On Thursday, they returned home after being eliminated in the Round of 16 by Mali, but the country they are returning to is a nation much changed.
Iraqi coach Qahtan al-Rubaye and midfielder Saif Khalid at a press conference ahead of their FIFA U-17 World Cup match against Mexico. (AP)
Iraq's Younis Mahmoud at a Confederations Cup match against Spain in South Africa in June 2009. (AP)