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Iraq victory at Asian Cup touches off wild celebrations back home
July 23rd, 2007 7AM

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Iraq, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia moved into the semifinals of the Asian Cup with wins over the weekend.

Captain Younis Mahmoud scored twice to give Iraq a 2-0 win over upstart Vietnam and advance to the semifinals of the Asian Cup for the first time since 1976.

Iraqis of all backgrounds took to the streets to celebrate the victory by the team of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish players. Three people were killed and 25 others injured by stray bullets in Baghdad.

Japan knocked out Australia on penalty kicks after their game ended in a 1-1 tie.

The victory was revenge for Japan's loss to Australia at the 2006 World Cup and a setback for the Socceroos, who left Oceania for Asia in order to gain a direct qualifying path to the World Cup.

Goalie Lee Woon Jae made two saves in the shootout to lead South Korea past Iran, 4-2, after their game ended in a scoreless tie.

Saudi Arabia edged Uzbekistan, 2-1, on goals by Yasser Al Qahtani and Al Mousa.



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