Iraq makes semis in Asian Games soccer

December 10th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Iraq makes semis in Asian Games soccer

Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Celebratory gunfire and cheers rang out in Baghdad on Saturday after Iraq's soccer team scored a late goal to advance to the semifinals at the Asian Games.
Iraq beat Uzbekistan 2-1 after Ali Alwan's diving header put the ball into the net in extra time of a dramatic game that kept many Iraqis glued to their TV sets.
Iraqis hailed the victory as a welcome respite from the daily cycle of sectarian violence, although some celebrated in traditional fashion by shooting guns into the air.
"We are proud not only of this honorable result, but of the fact that our team represents national unity," said Salih Ridha, a 35-year-old who manages a minimarket.
The spokesman for the Iraqi teams at the Asian Games, Imad Nasser, also referred to the team's broad ethnic mix, noting its player roster has Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites and Christians.
"This is Iraq. It has all these groups. So does the soccer team," he said. "We all play under the Iraqi flag and we all belong to the nation. Religion or ethnicity is something personal."
Some Iraqis celebrated by firing in the air and staccato bursts of gunfire could be heard around the city for more than 10 minutes after the game ended.
"Everyone should hail our team," said Ali Essa, a 44-year-old engineer. "This is a great achievement so we celebrate in our own way by cheers and applause."
Iraq's team next plays South Korean, which defeated North Korea 3-0 to advance.
December 10th, 2006  
Best part of being an Iraqi athlete? Away games.
December 10th, 2006  
I thought I was covering the Asian games
But anyway 8)

Similar Topics
What you didn't know about Iraq
Truly Asian: Asian Games offer big stage
Iran's suspension for Asian Games lifted
New Rules In Iraq May Make It Tougher To Keep Insurgents
Shaking hands with Sadam Hussein