July 29, 2007

GOOD NEWS: “Iraq completed one of sport’s great fairytales by beating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the Asian Cup final on Sunday to provide a rare moment for celebration in their war-torn homeland. The Saudis had been bidding to become the first four-times winners of the tournament but Iraq, riding a wave of global sentiment, upset the hot-favourites for a rare slice of sporting glory.”

And Omar writes: “I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that today has been as exciting as one of those election days in Baghdad. Our national soccer team is playing for the Asian cup for the first time in its history. By comparison this is as if the American team is playing for the cup of Copa America against the team of Brazil or Argentina! But of course here in Iraq we care way more about soccer than Americans do. No offense meant of course!”

None taken. Everyone cares about soccer more than Americans do. But follow the link for his liveblogging of the match. He concludes: “Our players, tonight our heroes, learned that only with team work they had a chance to win. May our politicians learn from the players . . . The fear is gone, the curfew is ignored, tonight Iraq knows only joy.” May there be more days like this, and with more occasions than soccer.