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Iraqis, first and foremost

For Iraqi exiles in Athens, the soccer team's success only reminds them of the hardships in their homeland.

Updated: August 26, 2004, 11:56 AM ET
By Jim Caple | Page 2

THESSALONIKI, Greece – Now, there's a dateline you don't see everyday: Thessaloniki, Greece. In fact, I had never even heard of the place until I looked at the Olympics schedule and learned that it was the site of the semifinal soccer game between Iraq and Paraguay.

Iraq, naturally, became the cause celebre of these Olympics with its stunning success in the qualifying round. Even President Bush referenced the team on the campaign trail. Despite almost unimaginable hardships -- ...

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