For the first time since 2002, thousands of jubilant Iraqis poured into Baghdad's Shaab Stadium to watch their itinerant national soccer team play at home, roaring as every player jogged out, formed a circle, and kissed the ground. In a perfect synchronicism, they cheered almost as loudly for the away team – their Palestinian "brothers" in occupation – who had "the guts" to come to Iraq. Amid chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to
America,” Iraq won 4-0. There was no violence.
“We are like someone who’s been displaced from his house,” said Iraq coach Nadhim Shakir. “Now, at last, he is going back.”