Iraq tied South Africa 0-0 in the Confederations Cup opener Sunday, dealing a blow to a host nation hoping to establish itself as a challenger in the tournament.

Goalkeeper Mohammed Kassid made two sterling saves for Iraq, the Asian champion. The eight-team tournament is a dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup.

South Africa nearly had a goal with six minutes left. A header by Kagisho Dikgacoi hit the leg of forward Bernard Parker on the goal line, with Kassid already beaten.

The draw for Iraq rewarded the conservative tactics of coach Bora Milutinovic, who once coached the United States. With an unexpected point, Iraq has hopes of reaching the semifinals from a group that also includes Spain and New Zealand.