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Iraq reinstated just three months ago

5/12/2004

AMMAN, Jordan -- Iraq's soccer team qualified for the Athens
Olympics on Wednesday, less than three months after the country was
reinstated by the International Olympic Committee.

Iraq beat Saudi Arabia 3-1, and then clinched the third and
final Asian qualifying spot when Kuwait held Oman to a scoreless
draw.

Celebratory gunfire was heard in central Baghdad after the
match, and tracers zoomed across the sky.

"It's a crazy joy for us," Iraq defender Ahmed Alwan said.
"Despite all of the difficulties we faced, we still managed to
qualify for Athens and I believe that we deserve our place in the
Olympics."

Both Iraq and Oman finished Group C play with nine points, but
Iraq won based on goal difference.

Only one team qualifies from the group.