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By ESPN Staff

Former Norway manager Olsen to coach Iraq

OSLO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Former Norway coach Egil Olsen signed a three-year contract on Monday to coach Asian Cup champions Iraq, Norwegian broadcaster NRK said.

Olsen, who previously turned down the job, recently expressed interest in leading Iraq to the 2010 World Cup.

Under Olsen Norway briefly reached No. 2 in the world rankings behind Brazil in the mid-1990s.

He takes over Iraq after the team from the war-torn country surprisingly won the Asian Cup in July beating Saudi Arabia.

They were keen to have a new coach installed ahead of their opening World Cup qualifier, away to Pakistan on Oct. 8.

Olsen, who once famously said Brazil would be better if he coached them, led Norway to the World Cup in 1994 and 1998, when his team beat Brazil in a group match.

At the height of his popularity in the 1990s he was a national hero and even had brands of ice cream and sausages named after him.

However, Olsen could not repeat his success at club level and was sacked by Wimbledon before they were relegated from the Premier League in 2000.

Since then the 65-year-old has fared poorly coaching Norwegian clubs.

Iraq's fairytale success in the Asian Cup was achieved under Brazilian Jorvan Vieira but he quit, complaining of chronic disorganisation in the country's soccer federation.