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Soccer Success in Athens Cheers Iraqis at Home

时间:2005-05-27 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:chirie   字体: [ ]

By Challiss McDonough
Iraqis are marveling at their soccer team's good fortune at the Athens Olympics. The team won Saturday's quarterfinal against Australia, and is now just two games away from a possible medal. As VOA's Challiss McDonough reports from Baghdad, the unexpected success in Athens is lifting Iraqi spirits at an otherwise bleak1 time.
In a dusty, neglected neighborhood on the outskirts2 of Baghdad, three generations of one family are watching Iraq play Australia in Saturday's Olympic soccer quarterfinal. There is tremendous excitement and anxiety in the room. Everyone has been looking forward to this for days. The Iraqi team has been doing better than anybody predicted, and winning this match will put them in the running for a medal.
Less than three minutes into the game, however, the reality of day-to-day life in the Iraqi capital intrudes3. The lights go out. And so does the TV.
Family members scramble4 outside to get the generator5 going.
The head of the household, Abu Mohammed, says they had the generator repaired just for tonight's game. As the family sits in the dark, he says, "I'll kill myself, if it doesn't work!"
After a few minutes, the generator rumbles6 to life and the lights flicker7 on. Soon, they are all again watching anxiously, as the Iraqi and Australian players try to head the ball near the Iraqi goal.
They worry that the Australians have the advantage, because they are taller than the Iraqis and in better shape.
The truth is that the Iraqis have been underdogs in every match they have played in Athens. The team's Olympic eligibility8 was only recently reinstated. They are still unable to play at home because of violence. And three months ago, their revered9 German coach quit, after receiving death threats.
And yet, somehow, they keep on winning.
The Iraqi soccer team is used to playing under adversity. Watching his team hold their own against the bigger, stronger Australians, Abu Mohammed recalls the old days, when Saddam Hussein's son Uday Hussein controlled Iraqi sport, often overruling the coach and choosing players himself.
"Back then, Uday suppressed them and stressed them, and did not give them a chance to play freely like this," he says. "Now, they know nobody will punish them after the game."
Abu Mohammed says players used to be afraid to take penalty kicks out of fear that Uday would beat or torture them, if they failed to score. He beams as he notes that the Iraqis are playing without fear now, and he thinks it has lifted their game.
President Bush used footage of the Iraqi soccer team in a campaign ad recently. The move angered many of the players, who do not want their success used to win votes for the American leader. Team managers have tried to downplay the controversy10, but television commentators11 during the quarterfinal made jokes about it, much to the amusement of Abu Mohammed's family.
In the end, Iraq beats Australia 1-0, thanks to a brilliant cartwheeling goal by Emad Mohammed. Several men in the family grab their guns and run outside for the traditional Iraqi celebration of firing in the air.
Soccer is a national obsession12 in Iraq. Baghdad drivers might grumble13 about the vast number of streets that have been blocked off for security reasons, snarling14 traffic. But kids have made the best of the abandoned roadways, and turned many of them into improvised15 soccer fields.
Every evening, this group of teenagers plays soccer in a parking lot near Baghdad University, using old oil cans to mark the goal posts. Less than 50 meters away, police have set up a roadblock and are checking cars for weapons or explosives.
But the players hardly even notice. Sixteen-year-old Sevan Baho devotes his full attention to the game.
"When I play soccer, I forget everything else, and just enjoy myself," he says.
He is wearing the bright red jersey16 of the British team, Arsenal17. Some of his friends wear the colors of other European teams, and a few have shin-pads and real soccer shoes. But others play in street clothes, and one boy is barefoot. It does not seem to diminish his joy in the game.
After all, playing soccer barefoot is hardly the biggest challenge in most Iraqis' lives. They are dealing18 with power cuts, a bad water supply, car bombings and the constant threat of getting caught in the crossfire19 between insurgents20 and American troops. This nightly soccer match is a chance to escape all of that, at least for a few hours.
Back at Abu Mohammed's house, his 18-year-old son Ammar waves his left arm, which is heavily bandaged. He says he broke it playing soccer.
"I think [beating Australia] surprised everyone," Ammar says. "Nobody expected Iraq to rise to this level. I think this victory will unite Sunnis and Shiahs, Kurds and Arabs. I hope it will unify21 all Iraqis."
If nothing else, the soccer team's success is giving Iraqis a little bit of hope that things will not always be so bleak.
Challiss McDonough, VOA news, Baghdad.
marveling 奇迹
quarterfinal 四分之一决赛
bleak 黯淡的
outskirts 边界
tremendous 极大的
predict 预见
generator 发电机
rumbles 隆隆声
underdog 失败者
eligibility 资格
adversity 逆境
overrule 否决,支配
penalty 处罚
torture 折磨
footage 镜头
downplay 不予重视
controversy 争论
commentator 评论员,讲解员
snarling 混乱的
parking lot 停车场
jersey 运动衫
barefoot 赤脚的
Shiah 什叶派教徒
Kurd 库尔德人


1 bleak gtWz5     
  • They showed me into a bleak waiting room.他们引我来到一间阴冷的会客室。
  • The company's prospects look pretty bleak.这家公司的前景异常暗淡。
2 outskirts gmDz7W     
  • Our car broke down on the outskirts of the city.我们的汽车在市郊出了故障。
  • They mostly live on the outskirts of a town.他们大多住在近郊。
3 intrudes 3fd55f59bc5bc27ecdb23a5321933d8f     
v.侵入,侵扰,打扰( intrude的第三人称单数 );把…强加于
  • An outraged movie like Stone's intrudes upon a semipermanent mourning. 像斯通这种忿忿不平的电影侵犯到美国人近乎永恒的哀悼。 来自互联网
  • He intrudes upon our hospitality. 他硬要我们款待他。 来自互联网
4 scramble JDwzg     
  • He broke his leg in his scramble down the wall.他爬墙摔断了腿。
  • It was a long scramble to the top of the hill.到山顶须要爬登一段长路。
5 generator Kg4xs     
  • All the while the giant generator poured out its power.巨大的发电机一刻不停地发出电力。
  • This is an alternating current generator.这是一台交流发电机。
6 rumbles 5286f3d60693f7c96051c46804f0df87     
隆隆声,辘辘声( rumble的名词复数 )
  • If I hear any rumbles I'll let you know. 我要是听到什么风声就告诉你。
  • Three blocks away train rumbles by. 三个街区以外,火车隆隆驶过。
7 flicker Gjxxb     
  • There was a flicker of lights coming from the abandoned house.这所废弃的房屋中有灯光闪烁。
  • At first,the flame may be a small flicker,barely shining.开始时,光辉可能是微弱地忽隐忽现,几乎并不灿烂。
8 eligibility xqXxL     
  • What are the eligibility requirements? 病人被选参加试验的要求是什么? 来自英汉非文学 - 生命科学 - 回顾与展望
  • Eligibility for HINARI access is based on gross national income (GNI). 进入HINARI获取计划是依据国民总收入来评定的。
9 revered 1d4a411490949024694bf40d95a0d35f     
v.崇敬,尊崇,敬畏( revere的过去式和过去分词 )
  • A number of institutions revered and respected in earlier times have become Aunt Sally for the present generation. 一些早年受到尊崇的惯例,现在已经成了这代人嘲弄的对象了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The Chinese revered corn as a gift from heaven. 中国人将谷物奉为上天的恩赐。 来自辞典例句
10 controversy 6Z9y0     
  • That is a fact beyond controversy.那是一个无可争论的事实。
  • We ran the risk of becoming the butt of every controversy.我们要冒使自己在所有的纷争中都成为众矢之的的风险。
11 commentators 14bfe5fe312768eb5df7698676f7837c     
n.评论员( commentator的名词复数 );时事评论员;注释者;实况广播员
  • Sports commentators repeat the same phrases ad nauseam. 体育解说员翻来覆去说着同样的词语,真叫人腻烦。
  • Television sports commentators repeat the same phrases ad nauseam. 电视体育解说员说来说去就是那么几句话,令人厌烦。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 obsession eIdxt     
  • I was suffering from obsession that my career would be ended.那时的我陷入了我的事业有可能就此终止的困扰当中。
  • She would try to forget her obsession with Christopher.她会努力忘记对克里斯托弗的迷恋。
13 grumble 6emzH     
  • I don't want to hear another grumble from you.我不愿再听到你的抱怨。
  • He could do nothing but grumble over the situation.他除了埋怨局势之外别无他法。
14 snarling 1ea03906cb8fd0b67677727f3cfd3ca5     
v.(指狗)吠,嗥叫, (人)咆哮( snarl的现在分词 );咆哮着说,厉声地说
  • "I didn't marry you," he said, in a snarling tone. “我没有娶你,"他咆哮着说。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
  • So he got into the shoes snarling. 于是,汤姆一边大喊大叫,一边穿上了那双鞋。 来自英汉文学 - 汤姆历险
15 improvised tqczb9     
  • He improvised a song about the football team's victory. 他即席创作了一首足球队胜利之歌。
  • We improvised a tent out of two blankets and some long poles. 我们用两条毛毯和几根长竿搭成一个临时帐蓬。
16 jersey Lp5zzo     
  • He wears a cotton jersey when he plays football.他穿运动衫踢足球。
  • They were dressed alike in blue jersey and knickers.他们穿着一致,都是蓝色的运动衫和灯笼短裤。
17 arsenal qNPyF     
  • Even the workers at the arsenal have got a secret organization.兵工厂工人暗中也有组织。
  • We must be the great arsenal of democracy.我们必须成为民主的大军火库。
18 dealing NvjzWP     
  • This store has an excellent reputation for fair dealing.该商店因买卖公道而享有极高的声誉。
  • His fair dealing earned our confidence.他的诚实的行为获得我们的信任。
19 crossfire 6vSzBL     
  • They say they are caught in the crossfire between the education establishment and the government.他们称自己被卷进了教育机构与政府之间的争端。
  • When two industrial giants clash,small companies can get caught in the crossfire.两大工业企业争斗之下,小公司遭受池鱼之殃。
20 insurgents c68be457307815b039a352428718de59     
n.起义,暴动,造反( insurgent的名词复数 )
  • The regular troops of Baden joined the insurgents. 巴登的正规军参加到起义军方面来了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Against the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents, these problems are manageable. 要对付塔利班与伊拉克叛乱分子,这些问题还是可以把握住的。 来自互联网
21 unify okOwO     
  • How can we unify such scattered islands into a nation?我们怎么才能把如此分散的岛屿统一成一个国家呢?
  • It is difficult to imagine how the North and South could ever agree on a formula to unify the divided peninsula.很难想象南北双方在统一半岛的方案上究竟怎样才能达成一致。
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