Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Happy Day in Baghdad

Go you Lions of Mesopotamia (definitely one of the coolest footballing nicknames ever)! Following a header in the 72nd minute by Younis Mahmoud, Iraq defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in a historic Asian Cup win. Iraq has now qualified for the 2009 Confederations Cup. And all Iraq celebrates. The New York Times blog has a minute-by-minute account of the match. Other stories: Sweden's expatriate Iraqi population celebrates, the Saudi coach acknowledges that Iraq deserved the win, a Reuters reporter writes about celebrating the win in the wake of colleagues' recent deaths, the team is dogged by chaos and tragedy, and Brazilian Jorvan Vieira, the Iraqi soccer coach, speaks of the challenges overcome by his squad.

Stories like this are one of the reasons I think football is the best sport in the world. (Now if only this celebratory practice of shooting guns into the air could only be discouraged, for after all, what goes up does, eventually, have to come down.) Here's to the fervent hope that no more bullets fired off in celebration come down on anyone's head and, most of all, that the celebrations continue unmarred by sectarian violence, for as long as everyone wants to continue celebrating.

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