Friday, July 13, 2007

Soccer brings joy to Iraq

Earlier today, the Iraqi soccer team pulled off a great upset when they trashed Australia 3-1 in the Asian Cup. This surprise victory sent people to the streets of Iraq in joy. They honked horns, waved flags an all around enjoyed the moment.

"Despite all of what is happening, the most important thing for us is Iraq. Soccer unites Iraq. Long live Iraq," a man shouted from inside his car before driving away.

For a country that lives with a daily threat of death just about anywhere, this was a welcome reprieve. However, with all that has happened to Iraq, the politics of this win cannot be removed.

"The game today was some kind of a challenge because we were playing with a country that has military presence here and at the same time a country known to have a strong team" said lawyer Mohammed al-Kharasani, 52. "Regrettably, the Australian team played looking down to us since they are an occupying country."

I'm not sure if the played down to them because of the occupation but that is just about as good as any other excuse for Australia's horrible play so far in the Asian Cup. With one more group game to go, they must get a win if they hope to advance. The Socceroos play hosts Thailand on Monday in a must win game. Meanwhile, Iraq will play Oman needing only a tie to guarantee a spot in the second round.

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