Football

How Iraq's footballers beat bombs and bullets

Published 0841 GMT (1641 HKT) July 28, 2017
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An Iraqi fan cheers for her team at the 2007 Asian Cup. ADEK BERRY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The Lions of Mesopotamia were rank outsiders for the event but would go on to shock the world. SAEED KHAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Iraq's midfielder Hawar Mulla Mohammed celebrates his goal during Group A match against Australia, an early upset and a sign of things to come. SAEED KHAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
As the tournament progressed, belief began to go grow among players and fans that Iraq was on the cusp of something special. PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
An Iraqi football fan supports his team before the semi-final match between Iraq and South Korea. HASSAN AMMAR/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Incredibly, Iraq advanced to the tournament final after a penalty shootout win against regional powerhouse South Korea. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
But tragedy struck as up to 50 people celebrating the semifinal victory were killed by two bombs in Baghdad. Getty Images/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Iraq would go on to defeat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final despite rumors that some players didn't want to play as they thought it could risk more bloodshed in their homeland. SAEED KHAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Iraq's captain and goalscorer in the final, Younis Mohmoud, holds the Asian Cup trophy aloft. SAEED KHAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands poured out on to the streets in Iraq to celebrate the remarkable and unlikely triumph. ALI YUSSEF/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Many fired their weapons in the air in celebration, including these policemen in the Shiite city of Najaf south of Baghdad. Saad Serhan/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
The scenes of jubilation provided a brief moment of respite from the horrors of conflict and insurgency which had afflicted Iraq since the US and allied invasion of 2003. WISSAM AL-OKAILI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images