MUSCAT // The Kuwait coach Mohammed Ibrahim says that whatever happens in the knockout stages, his team can go home happy after a 1-1 draw with Iraq saw them finish second in Group A and book a place in Wednesday's semi-final. "Nobody expected us to reach the semi-finals," said Ibrahim. "We have achieved what everyone thought was not possible. "We had won 80 per cent of the battle to reach the last four after the win over Bahrain and this 1-1 result with Iraq was good enough for me. Iraq are by no means a weak team, it's just that they have some problems to train together. We had similar problems with a doubt in our participation in this competition. And under the circumstances we have done extremely well. "
Kuwait went ahead from a 37th- minute strike from Khalid Khalaf Mattar but Iraq levelled through Alaa Abdul Zahra 30 minutes later. But with the news that Bahrain were trailing Oman in the group's other game at the time, the Kuwait camp were confident. "We were following that game as that result was important for us," said Ibrahim. "But in the back of our minds we knew the hard part was over for us. We had two good games with Oman and Bahrain to win three points and that was the key."
Kuwait have won nine Gulf Cups, since the competition's inception in 1970 but it is a decade since their last triumph. Ibrahim believes his team now have a great chance at making it 10 trophies. He added: "To be honest, we never expected to come this far, and now with the new confidence and a little bit of luck, we certainly feel we have a chance to go all the way." firstname.lastname@example.org