Saudi Arabia declares public vacation after beating Argentina

King Salman declared a public vacation in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to mark the nationwide workforce’s gorgeous 2-1 upset over Lionel Messi’s Argentina on the 2022 World Cup.

The information is a feather within the cap of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who beneficial the royal order, state media stated. Prince Mohammed was not seen on the match however had been entrance and centre on the match opening Sunday.

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Considered one of Prince Mohammed’s brothers, Prince Saud, posted photos on Instagram exhibiting the crown prince prostrating in because of God in a room the place his different brother, Power Minister Prince Abdulaziz, was additionally current, proven holding a Saudi flag and standing subsequent to a smiling crown prince.

It was additionally a candy second for host Qatar, going through intense criticism over human rights within the conservative Muslim nation. Qatar’s emir draped the Saudi flag over his shoulders on the match. A Doha skyscraper flashed “Congratulations Greens.”

“Wow! I’ve all the sentiments proper now. We beat Argentina, one of many nice groups!” stated Saad from Riyadh, who’s in Qatar for 2 weeks and was carrying a inexperienced Saudi Falcons scarf.

“Our guys performed so effectively — every little thing went proper contained in the stadium at this time. It was wonderful.”

On his fifth and remaining quest for the one main trophy to elude him, Messi, 35, scored a Tenth-minute penalty in a dominant first-half show by Argentina on Tuesday throughout which he and Lautaro Martinez additionally had three targets disallowed for offside.

However Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest-ranked workforce within the match, after Ghana, threw warning to the wind at first of the second half, charging at Argentina’s defence in entrance of a frenzied 88,012 crowd.

“Thank God, the gamers have been as much as it and we wiped them,” Saudi fan Abdelaziz al-Khwatem stated. “They have been counting on one participant, we competed as a workforce and we wiped them, we’re as much as it. Be careful for Saudi Arabia as a result of when it hits, it hurts.”

A Saudi tv station confirmed an extended line of vehicles with veiled ladies standing of their open sunroofs waving the Saudi flag. Celebrating kids gave the victory signal.

The gravity of the victory will finally sink in. Saudi Arabia is a workforce that had gained solely three World Cup matches in its historical past previous to the Tuesday sport.

“One for the books,” Saudi Arabia coach Herv√© Renard stated. “Typically issues are fully loopy.”

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Goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais, who made two key saves late within the sport to protect the win at Lusail Stadium north of Doha, was nearly subdued on the finish, maybe not greedy the magnitude of the upset.

“I’m very completely happy about this end result that now we have been in a position to acquire in opposition to this very storied workforce,” Alowais stated solemnly. “Now we have ready ourselves. We have been 100% prepared and hopefully we could have higher outcomes sooner or later. I felt we have been particularly good within the final minutes as a result of we secured our three factors.”

Not in simply the final minutes. Regardless of trailing 1-0 at half-time, Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari managed to attain a aim every early within the second half.

Then got here greater than 50 minutes, together with added time on the finish of the match on the referee’s discretion, of holding one of many match favorites at bay.

“All the celebrities aligned for us,” stated Renard, who gained the African Cup of Nations as coach of Zambia in 2012 after which once more with Ivory Coast in 2015.

Renard has additionally coached Angola and Morocco, which he guided to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He took over Saudi Arabia in 2019.

“We made historical past for Saudi soccer,” Renard stated. “It should keep endlessly. That is crucial. However we additionally want to consider trying ahead as a result of we nonetheless have two video games which are very, very tough for us.”

Renard stated he requested his gamers to restrict the celebration after the sport to twenty minutes.

“That is all,” he stated. “However there are nonetheless two video games — or extra.”

They nonetheless should face Poland on Saturday after which tackle Mexico subsequent Tuesday in Group C. Each are in all probability nonetheless favorites in opposition to Saudi Arabia regardless of the upset.

He additionally advised one other attainable reality: Messi and Argentina in all probability underestimated Saudi Arabia, which is simply No. 51 within the FIFA rating. Argentina is No. 3.

“However you understand the motivation isn’t like you’re taking part in Brazil,” he added.

Info from Reuters and the Related Press was used on this report.

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