Last-Minute Equalizer Keeps Syria Somehow Alive In World Cup Qualifying

Syria, which has been playing its international home games in Malaysia, is on the cusp of World Cup qualification.

Syria needed a win or a tie Tuesday against Iran to keep its World Cup hopes alive. Down 2-1 going into stoppage time, it looked like the dream was dead.

And then it wasn't.

Because South Korea and Uzbekistan also drew, Syria will now potentially play two playoffs to determine if they will go to Russia next summer. If they had won against Iran, Syria would have gone straight through. Instead, South Korea have officially qualified.

Syria will face either Australia or Saudi Arabia (pending today's qualifier between Japan and Saudi Arabia) in the first playoff, and the fourth-place team in CONCACAF's hexagonal in the second playoff. There is a strong possibility that second team ends up being the United States.

Because of the ongoing hostilities in Syria, the team has been playing its home qualifiers in Malaysia. The team has been torn apart by a cruel regime looking to use soccer to gain goodwill from Syria's people and anti-regime factions who view the team as a symbol of oppression.

Despite all that, they still might qualify for the World Cup. Football, man.

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