Iraq reinstated just three months ago
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.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
MORE OLYMPICS HEADLINES
- Durant, USA pull away from Spain to win gold
- Clippers' Paul has successful surgery on thumb
- Schmitt back to school after Olympic stardom
- Olympian Raisman, Poland Spring sign deal