Noor Sabri was the outstanding goalkeeper at the AFC Asian Cup 2007, conceding just two goals throughout Iraq's title-winning campaign. This record was unmatched by any of the keepers from the other 15 participating sides.
Like the majority of the current Iraqi squad, 25-year-old Sabri belongs to the country's golden generation that was nurtured by Adnan Hamad. He broke on to the Asian scene in the AFC Youth Championship 2000, when he warmed the bench until the final game against Japan. Despite serving as the replacement for the suspended first choice Ahmed Ali Jaber, Sabri earned praise for keeping Iraq in contention before Emad Mohammed scored the title-winning goal.
He was quickly back on the sidelines as the team played in the subsequent FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2001, where they failed to progress beyond the group stage. However, although he served as a back-up to Jaber with the national youth team, Sabri proved a fast learner at the club level and went from strength to strength with Iraqi first division side Al-Zawraa. His improvement impressed German coach Bernd Stange so much that the youngster was called into the team that eventually booked a surprise berth to the Olympic Football Tournament Athens 2004.
Four years after playing for Iraq at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Sabri once again represented his country on the global stage. He started in all six of Iraq's games during their Olympic campaign and performed admirably as Iraq stormed into the last four.
Like many of his team-mates on the Olympic squad, Sabri graduated to the country's senior team. He went on to make the No1 jersey his own in the ensuing years and was part of the side that earned Iraq's maiden continental title two years ago.
Sabri impressed throughout the competition as Iraq reached the semi-final, where they were presented with the daunting task of facing the Korea Republic. The two sides remained level at 0-0 after extra time and a penalty shootout beckoned. After both sides were on target in the first three rounds, Sabri made a decisive save by tipping away Yeom Ki-hun's shot. After Kim Jung-woo hit the post in their final attempt, it was Sabri and his team-mates who, against all expectations, progressed to the final.
However, the goalkeeping prodigy had a forgettable campaign in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa as Iraq failed to make it to Asia's final round. In the decisive final match against Qatar in third round qualifying, Sabri was left stranded as Syed Bechir headed home the only goal after 77 minutes.