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 advisable the royal order, state media mentioned. Prince Mohammed was not seen on the match however had been entrance and centre on the match opening on Sunday.

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Certainly 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, Vitality 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, dealing with 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 emotions proper now. We beat Argentina, one of many nice groups!” mentioned Saad from Riyadh who’s in Qatar for 2 weeks and was carrying a inexperienced Saudi Falcons scarf.

“Our guys performed so nicely — all the things went proper contained in the stadium at this time. It was wonderful.”

On his fifth and closing 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 in the beginning of the second half, charging at Argentina’s defence in entrance of a frenzied 88,012 crowd.

“Thank God, the gamers had been as much as it and we wiped them. They had 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,” mentioned Saudi fan Abdelaziz al-Khwatem.

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

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

“One for the books,” Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard mentioned. “Typically issues are utterly loopy.”

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

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

Not simply within the final minutes. Regardless of trailing 1-0 at half-time, Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari managed to attain a objective 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 celebs aligned for us,” mentioned Renard, who received the African Cup of Nations as coach of Zambia in 2012 after which once more with Ivory Coast in 2015.

Renard has 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 mentioned. “It would keep endlessly. That is crucial. However we additionally want to consider trying ahead as a result of we nonetheless have two video games which can be very very troublesome for us.”

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

“That is all,” he mentioned. “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 most likely nonetheless favorites in opposition to Saudi Arabia — regardless of the upset.

He additionally steered one other doable reality: Messi and Argentina most likely underestimated Saudi Arabia, which is simply No. 51 within the FIFA rating. Argentina is No. 3.

“However you already know the motivation just isn’t like you might be taking part in Brazil,” he added.

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

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