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Political strife off the radar as Syria plays in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

October 17, 16:16 UTC+3 SOCHI

All television channels kicked off their news programs with sports stories, while politics, which usually tops the agenda, took a backseat

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Players of Syria celebrate after the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying soccer match

Players of Syria celebrate after the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying soccer match

© EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH

SOCHI, October 17. /TASS/. Syria’s domestic strife had temporarily taken a backseat as the country’s national football team struggled to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Ibrahim Abazid, a member of the Syrian National Olympic Committee, told TASS on Tuesday.

In the second-leg away qualifier against Australia on October 10, the national football team of Syria was edged by the hosts 1-2 in extra time, which allowed the Australians to proceed to the world championship’s qualifying playoff round with an aggregate score of 3-1 after two matches. The first match in Syria ended with a 1-1 draw.

Abazid said in an interview with TASS that the whole country was let down by the Syrian national team’s defeat last week to Australia since hopes were high nationwide before that match.

According to the Syrian Olympic official, all television channels kicked off their news programs with sports stories, while politics, which usually tops the agenda, took a backseat.

All Syrian TV anchormen and commentators donned the uniforms of the national football team as they were reporting the news, even when covering politics, Abazid said adding that football is very popular in his country and up to 300 people in Syria were currently practicing this sport despite the ongoing domestic conflict.

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