It's a Party!! Iraqis Dance in Streets After Big Soccer Win!

“All this is not only for the game- It’s for the wounds of Iraq!”

Sahar Abd Ali
40 year-old Iraqi mother
After Iraqi Soccer Team wins at Asia Cup

Iraq exploded with celebration today after a huge win for the country’s soccer team.

Soccer fans wave the Iraqi flag in central Baghdad, Iraq after Iraq defeated Vietnam 2-0 in Bangkok Thailand in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup, Saturday, July 21, 2007, providing a welcome relief from the daily violence facing Iraqis. (AP)

Police danced at checkpoints and gunmen fired their weapons in celebration Saturday as thousands of jubilant Iraqis poured into the streets of Baghdad after their national soccer team’s 2-0 victory over Vietnam in a quarterfinal match of the Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand .

The impromptu citywide parade lifted the capital’s wartime gloom and let Iraqis forget momentarily the daily frustrations of their lives.

Families spent precious gasoline cruising up and down the main street in the central neighborhood of Karada. Taxi drivers honked their horns and blasted patriotic music. Children, typically shut indoors for their protection, whooped and jumped in the middle of intersections. Iraqi women trilled from balconies, while throngs of ecstatic young men peeled off their shirts and waved them in the air.

“All this is not only for the game – it’s for the wounds of Iraq ,” said Sahar Abd Ali , a beaming, 40-year-old mother who strolled among the celebrants. “God willing, this shows that even those deep wounds can be healed.”

The festivities were unusual partly because of what was missing. No gunmen stopped passersby from filming the scene with their cell phones; in fact, many revelers slowed down to make sure they were photographed. Showing none of the usual everyday fear of revealing personal details, Iraqis gave their full names and lengthy interviews to a reporter. Iraqi television was still providing live coverage hours later.


Soccer fans wave the Iraqi flag in central Baghdad, Iraq after Iraq defeated Vietnam 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup, in Bangkok Thailand, Saturday, July 21, 2007, providing a welcome relief from the daily violence facing Iraqis. Iraq, having snapped a run of three successive exits at the quarterfinal stage, will next play the winner of Sunday’s quarterfinal between Iran and South Korea in Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)


Residents celebrate in Basra after Iraq won their 2007 AFC Asian Cup quarter-final soccer match against Vietnam at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok July 21, 2007. (Reuters)


Residents celebrate in Basra after Iraq won their 2007 AFC Asian Cup quarter-final soccer match against Vietnam at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok July 21, 2007. (REUTERS/Atef Hassan)

MNF-Iraq put out a statement of congratulations to the Iraqi team.

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