Iraq celebrates football victory

Thousands of Iraqis have spilled onto the streets to celebrate their football squad’s Asian Cup victory, firing guns into the air despite a government ban.

Iraq beat Saudi Arabia 1-0. Celebratory gunfire was heard in Baghdad, where authorities had banned vehicles and urged fans not to gather.

It was feared crowds could be targets for bombers. Some 50 people died in attacks after last week’s semi-final.

Correspondents say Iraq’s progress has temporarily united the divided country.

The team includes Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as Kurds.

Thousands of Iraqis, who had been following the match in Indonesia on television, rushed into the streets of the capital and other cities to celebrate.

The crowds in Baghdad included members of the security forces. Guns were fired into the air despite an earlier warning by the authorities that any such displays would be punished.

Meanwhile at the stadium in Jakarta, the BBC’s Lucy Williamson says the atmosphere is electric.

She says there is huge sympathy and support here for the Iraqi team, for their difficulties in training and the continuing violence at home.

The team said they wanted to give Iraq something to celebrate as a nation – they have done it and many others in Indonesia are celebrating with them, our correspondent says.

Football fever

Earlier, the Iraqi authorities banned the use of vehicles in Baghdad until 0600 (0200 GMT) on Monday in an effort to prevent a repeat of the bloodshed which followed the semi-final win.

A similar ban was also imposed in the northern city of Kirkuk.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Qassim Moussawi said they wanted to stop “terrorists, Sunni extremists and criminals from targeting the joy of the people”.

Iraq surprised the football world by beating tournament favourites Australia, and then former winners South Korea in Wednesday’s semi-final match.

Wild celebrations followed that victory, with crowds dancing in the streets and waving the national flag.

But the party was brought to a bloody end as insurgents detonated bombs in two parts of Baghdad, killing about 50 people.

Source: BBC.com

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About Anthony Lasala

When i'm not playing sports video games, you might spot me playing Yu Gi Oh 5DS on Xbox Live.

2 comments

  1. eyeshare

    Bravo and peace for Iraq

  2. insidesportsgeek

    Couldn’t agree more. Peace.

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