Against all the odds, Syria's national football team is keeping alive its hopes of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, after scoring an extra-time equiliser against Iran. The 2-2 draw secured the team 3rd place in its group, and a place in the playoffs.
Syrian striker, Omar Al Somah, was the man who made the team's advancement possible with his 93rd minute goal, while their competitor for the spot, South Korea, failed to overcome Uzbekistan in a 0-0 draw.
Syrian soccer fans had seen their hopes of reaching the Russia World Cup boosted after a 3-1 win against Qatar last week.
It hasn't been an easy path for Syria's footballers. After FIFA ruled that venues inside the country were unsafe, the team has had to find foreign hosts for their home games – first Oman, then Malaysia.
Six of the players in the national squad play in the Syrian Premier League, which has gone ahead every season throughout the civil war in the country, with the only exception of 2011.
38 Syrian players from the first division have reportedly fallen victim to the conflict, while another 13 are reported missing.
Team coaches caused controversy by wearing T-shirts in favor of the Syrian government at a recent press conference.