Iraqis Play With Heavy Hearts

Asia Cup final berth bittersweet in wake of suicide bombings that killed 50
By Jesse Andrews,  Newser User
Posted Jul 27, 2007 9:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – An undertrained, cobbled-together Iraq squad upset favored South Korea in Wednesday's Asian Cup semifinals, and the Iraqis now head into Sunday's final bearing a heavy burden: Car bombs exploded in crowds of fans celebrating in Baghdad, killing at least 50. Iraq's coach, who is Brazilian, dedicated the win to "the people of Iraq because they deserve it," AFP reports.

"We have to show them that we are sharing all that we are achieving here," keeper Nour Sabri said of his compatriots. The deciding penalty kick in the 4-3 victory came from midfielder Ahmed Manajid, who announced at the 2004 Olympics that if he weren't playing soccer, he'd be battling US troops in his native Fallujah. (Read more Iraq stories.)

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