Saudi Arabia experienced one of the most memorable moments in its football history on Tuesday as the men’s team inflicted a shock defeat on Lionel Messi-led Argentina. The golfing nation beat Argentina 2-1 at Lusail Stadium, Qatar in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. Messi broke the deadlock after a substitution from the spot in the 10th minute, but goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Aldawsari helped Saudi Arabia end the game in ecstasy.
The fans were delighted, as was the entire population of Saudi Arabia. Now reports are emerging that the country has announced a holiday on Wednesday to celebrate the historic victory.
According to Arab News, King Salman has endorsed the holiday in the country following a suggestion from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The report quoted Saudi Press Agency as saying that all public and private sector workers and students will be given holidays.
Infidel Saudis formed impromptu dance circles on Tuesday and waved the sword-adorned national flag from the windows of speeding cars in Riyadh after their team’s sensational victory over Argentina. As the final whistle blew in the group stage shocker with a 2-1 scorecard that ended Argentina’s 36-game unbeaten run, fans watching on a giant screen at a stadium in the capital Riyadh sent shisha pipes into the around as they rushed to celebrate.
Few could have predicted that Hervé Renard’s Green Falcons, ranked 51st in the world, would topple the two-time world champion led by the celebrated Messi, who has seven Ballons d’Or to his name.
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The cheering scenes, with some fans wiping away tears with their bright green Saudi banners, were a stark contrast to the subdued atmosphere during the first half, when Messi scored a penalty and Argentina were awarded three goals for offside.
But the crowd only came to life with a shock three minutes into the second half, when the Saudis equalised.
Celebrations erupted after Salem Al-Dawsari gave the Green Falcons a surprising lead five minutes later, and tense fans cheered every save from goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais – who, despite a long stoppage time, never let a ball go by.
(with UKTN inputs)
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