Iraqi's attack the Saudi's
Jakarta Travel Blog› entry 176 of 658 › view all entries
July 29th, 2007 – by: Deats
We took the morning train from Bandung back to Jakarta and due to the heat and the fact it was going to be Julias birthday, we decided to try and find a room with air-con in the tourist area of Jalan Jaksa. We were pretty disappointed by what was on offer, but eventually found a place that was just about passable. We showered and changed and made our way down to Gelora Bung Karno Stadium to watch the final of the Asian Cup between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
I had read in the press that the Saudi government had bought 15,000 tickets to be distributed for free to the people of Jakarta and also the organisers had said that they would slash prices, in an attempt to generate interest with the Indonesians.
There was around 65,000 in the stadium and any thoughts that the Saudi governments good will gesture would also lead to the backing of their team was soon shattered as chants of 'IRAQ IRAQ' rang out around the stadium. From the kick off the Iraqi's were on the attack and this galvanised the fans into more chanting and vocal support for the team. Julia and I were offering our fair share of encouragement and it was becoming a really great atmosphere. The game progressed at a frantic pace, but for all Iraq's possession and chances, they just couldn't find the killer touch.
The second half continued in similar vain with the Iraqi's throwing everything at their opponents. Inevitably the Saudi's did eventually create one of their own chances only to be denied by a fine save from Iraq's goalkeeper. As time began to run out, Iraq continued to press with no signs of fatigue and eventually their perserverence was rewarded. When a corner from the right was missed by the goalkeeper, the Iraqi skipper was on hand to head the ball into an empty goal, sending the crowd wild. The remaining 15 minutes were tense, but it was Iraq who continued to dominate and they sent the huge crowd home happy, as they secured a 1-0 victory.
It was a sweet moment for a country that has gone through so much and their unity showed at the full time whilstle, as players wrapped themselves in the countries flag and danced in a circle. Whilst the Saudi players lay dejected on the turf, the ever energetic Iraqi players performed a victory lap, before they went up to collect their medals and trophy. There was a ticker tape explosion as the trophy was raised, which brought a close to one of the biggest tournament shocks ever in World football. We headed back to Jalan Jaksa, still buzzing, and went out for a few drinks in Romance Cafe and Papas Bar to celebrate. As midnight turned, we toasted Julias birthday and eventually made it home around 3am.
Monday was Julias 23rd birthday and we spent the day eating, drinking and doing very little.
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