Justin Meram's Quest to Qualify for World Cup Begins

Real Salt Lake winger Justin Meram finished out a series of two matches against Iran and South Korea with the Iraq National Team as part of Asian Football Confederation’s qualification process for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 

Iraq is currently seeking to qualify for second-ever appearances at the FIFA World Cup and the country’s first since the tournament was hosted in Mexico in 1986. 

The top two teams from the two groups will automatically qualify for the tournament, with the third advancing to the fourth round for a final chance at representing their nation at the World Cup. 

Iraq competes in Group A with Iran, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. Competing in a round robin format, the six teams will face each opponent twice. Following the first round of two matches there will be four more competition frames with eight games remaining for each team. 

In the first match against the 36th ranked South Korea, Iraq grinded out a 0-0 draw to earn a point. Meram started the match on the bench and came on as a substitute in the 85th minute. 

In the following match against Iran, Meram once again started on the bench, but an early injury saw him enter the match in the 28th minute. The winger created several chances for Iraq, but the team was unable to capitalize and the team fell 3-0. 

Iraq will see their next series of matches in October, first against Lebanon on October 7 and then on October 12 against United Arab Emirates.

Real Salt Lake travels to California for two-consecutive road matches against LAFC and San Jose Earthquakes before returning home on Saturdays, September 18 to face Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium.