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During the World Cup, Politics Take a Back in the Most Unlikely Places

In soccer, political overtones sometimes exacerbate the tension between nations (see England vs. Germany) during soccer matches, but sometimes even politics takes a back seat to the game. A USA Today reporter in Iraq sat with a group of family and friends during the Czech Republic's demolition of the U.S. national team on Monday. Outside, the fighting between American forces and the Iraqi insurgency wages on, and because of this, most Iraqis won't venture outside of their homes. But this particular group gathered anyway, to watch satellite-quality soccer (a hard thing to come by in Iraq these days) together with friends. Given the circumstances, you might expect the Iraqis to be pulling for the Czechs, but at this house, just one guest out of a dozen wanted to see the Czechs beat the Americans. The rest pulled for team USAeven those who don't agree with U.S. policy in Iraq. "Today, I'm supporting the United States and so are some of my friends," said one 24-year-old Iraqi, who jumped up in despair along with the rest of us when Claudio Reyna's 20-yarder bounced off the Czechs' goal post. "Politics has nothing to do with sport," he says. "Those players represent the American people, not the U.S. administration." Now is that amazing, or what?

Read the whole story at USA Today »

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