Iraqi Nation Celebrates Asian Cup Soccer Championship

July 29, 20087

There are celebrations in Iraq Sunday.

The country's underestimated soccer team has won its first Asian Cup soccer title, with a 1-0 win over three-time defending champions Saudi Arabia. This sports victory is considered a beacon of hope for a country divided by war.

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.

Team captain Younis Mahmoud scored the winning goal. He and his teammates celebrated in a heap of joy when the final whistle sounded.

There are reports of celebratory gunfire in Baghdad, despite authorities announcing a ban on guns. Vehicle traffic has also been stopped in the capital city.

On Wednesday, when Iraq beat South Korea in the semifinals, deadly attacks turned the nation's joy into sorrow, as extremists seemed determined to destroy national pride and unity. Two car bombs tore through crowds of revelers killing about 50 people.

Talib Mustafa, a 17-year-old Shiite high school student from eastern Baghdad, said he would paint an Iraqi flag on his chest and celebrate.

"The terrorists want to deprive us of any chance to be joyful, but we will do our best in celebrating and forgetting our woes," he said.

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