It’s just days after the 10th anniversary of Iraq’s victory at the Asian Cup and CNN World Sport reflects on how the team overcame impossible odds and briefly brought a war-torn country together.
In a series of videos looking back on the tournament, CNN speak to some of the team’s key protagonists and journalists who recall their experiences of Iraq’s unlikely triumph and claimed the continent’s most prestigious competition for the first time.
The Asian Cup tournament took place in the midst of ongoing bloodshed at home and the team consisting of Sunnis, Shias and Kurds was both a symbol of how the country could unite, but also a reminder of the political turbulence still facing the country.
Following the Iraqi’s semi-final win over South Korea, a suicide bombing in Baghdad claimed the lives of 30 people, wounding 75 more. It was rumoured that some of the players didn’t want to continue, but star player Sadir told CNN how the events in Baghdad in fact drove the squad on.
After captain Younes Mahmoud scored the winning goal against Saudi Arabia, people took to the streets of Baghdad to celebrate the victory in a moment that seemed impossible even just a few days previously.