Joseph S. Blatter was a keen spectator at the final of the 14 th edition of the AFC Asian Cup in Jakarta on Sunday, 24 July, where his presence owed as much to the teams involved as to his habit of attending such showpiece events. "I witnessed an exceptional victory," remarked the FIFA President afterwards, while paying homage to the winners and the excellent quality of football on display

"I know they weren't able to train in the best conditions," he added. "Their coach's work was all the more remarkable because of that. He succeeded in building a team composed of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, and on Sunday night the unity and attitude of those players was fantastic. They showed how it's possible to be united on the pitch for a common goal, thanks to football!"

Referring to the 60,000 fans who braved the intense heat in the stadium to watch the final, he went on: "Deep down, I think the spectators found themselves supporting the Iraq team because they felt how united they were on the pitch." The President also expressed a wish that this historic victory will have a positive influence in the long term, in particular on the future of the country. "I hope football can contribute to building a better future thanks to its incredible power to unite people and its extraordinary popularity," he concluded.