Sunday, July 29, 2007

Saudi fails to advance to World Cup

A Saudi youth celebrates in the capital Riyadh his country's soccer team's 3-2 victory over Japan in the semifinal of the Asian Cup 2007 last Wednesday

Saudi football fans poured on to the streets of Riyadh in celebration on Wednesday after their national team powered their way into the final of the Asian Cup.

Within minutes, long convoys of cars wound through the main streets of the capital, fans honking horns, singing and yelling.

It took us almost an hour passing through the King Fahad Road to our badminton session last Wednesday night

Bumper to bumper ang traffic kahit saan ka pumunta. We tried sidetripping pero wala din kaming madaanan.

This is not unusual for Saudi to go out to the streets pag nananalo ang Saudi sa football. Talo pa nila ang traffic sa EDSA! Kung ang Pilipinas tuwang-tuwa kung nananalo si Pacquaio o di kaya may nanalo sa international beauty pageant, sa kanila naman pag nananalo sa football against any country, talagang proud na proud sila. Ganoon sila ka-fanatic sa larong football.

After the game last Wednesday, my Saudi friend “Fahad” called me to share his excitement and promised me “something” if Saudi will win against Iraq for the finals.

Saudi Arabia, which has won the competition three times, put out favourites and two-time defending champion Japan 3-2 on Wednesday in a scintillating game in which Japan came back twice before finally succumbing to the Saudi offence.

Saudi Arabia's goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem sits on the field after Iraq's Younis Mahmoud scored past him during their final match at the 2007 AFC

However, the Iraq and Saudi Arabia head-to-head battle just a while ago in the Asian Cup final in Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, after the pair saw off two of Asia’s footballing giants (Japan and South Korea) in the semi-finals this week, was a big disappointment to Saudis. They lost to Iraq.

When I went home tonight, I saw how my Saudi officemates felt the disappointment and much with my friend Fahad…. Until now, he hasn’t called me up…

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