View Full Version : Iraq Salutes its Asian Cup Soccer Finalist

07-28-2007, 08:33 AM
28 July LA Times - Iraq Salutes its Asian Cup Soccer Finalist (http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-iraq28jul28,0,2033748.story?coll=la-home-center) by Alexandra Zarvis.

They're stocking up on fuel for their generators, snapping up flags and team T-shirts, and decorating their cars with flowers.

Soccer fever has reached new heights in Iraq ahead of the national squad's first-ever Asian Cup final.

In a few short weeks, the 15 young players have achieved what Iraq's political and religious leaders have struggled to accomplish in four years of war: uniting their country and restoring a sense of national pride.

"We wish these players sat in the chairs of those politicians," said Ali Mohsin, a Baghdad civil servant. "They did a marvel for us ... making us happy together."

Each improbable Iraq soccer victory has been met with an outpouring of joy, a rare feeling in this bloodied country. Thousands poured into the streets Wednesday when Iraq's team edged South Korea to clinch a coveted spot in Sunday's final against Saudi Arabia...

07-29-2007, 07:41 PM
AP via Washington Post - Iraq Wins First Asian Cup Championship (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/29/AR2007072900269.html?hpid=topnews).

Defying orders from authorities, revelers fired celebratory gunshots and poured into the streets after Iraq beat Saudi Arabia to clinch its first Asian Cup soccer championship on Sunday.

Mosques broadcast calls to stop the shootings, which killed at least four people. Security forces enforced a vehicle ban in an effort to prevent a repeat of car bombings that killed dozens celebrating Iraq's progress to the finals Wednesday.

Iraqis welcomed the victory as a chance to show the world they can come together and expressed frustration that their politicians couldn't do the same.

"Those heroes have shown the real Iraq. They have done something useful for the people as opposed to the politicians and lawmakers who are stealing or killing each other," said Sabah Shaiyal, a 43-year-old policeman in Baghdad. "The players have made us proud, not the greedy politicians. Once again, our national team has shown that there is only one, united Iraq."

The Iraqi team, known as the "Lions of the Two Rivers" beat three-time champions Saudi Arabia 1-0 in its first appearance in the Asian Cup final...

07-30-2007, 04:17 AM
Even in Kurdish areas, no bastions of Iraqi nationalism, there is a great deal of pride in the team. During the game last night our terps were running around with whistles and flags when the Iraqi team scored.