Thousands of Iraqis spilled onto the streets to celebrate their football team’s Asian Cup victory in Jakarta in July. Iraq beat Saudi Arabia 1-0. Celebratory gunfire was heard in Baghdad, where authorities had banned vehicles and urged fans not to gather. It was feared crowds could be targets for bombers.
The team includes Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as Kurds and commentators said the victory helped to unite the communities. As a result Iraq will compete in the Confederations Cup in South Africa in 2009.