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Saudi Arabia declare public holiday after stunning win against Argentina

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By Martin Graham | 23rd Nov 2022

Saudi Arabia’s surprising 2-1 victory over Argentina’s Lionel Messi’s team at the 2022 World Cup inspired King Salman to decree a public holiday in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Saudi Gazette, an English-language daily in Saudi Arabia, tweeted: “King Salman orders that tomorrow, Wednesday, will be a holiday for all employees in the public and private sectors as well as for students in all phases of education in celebration of Saudi Arabia’s stunning victory against Argentina.”

According to state media, the announcement is a plus for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who suggested the royal edict. Although he had been prominently featured at the tournament opening Sunday, Prince Mohammed was not spotted at the game.

Prince Saud, one of Prince Mohammed’s brothers, shared photos on Instagram depicting the crown prince bowing to God in a room with his other brother, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz, who was also present, standing next to the crown prince and waving a Saudi flag.

The host country, Qatar, which has been under fire for its stringent rules on human rights in the conservative Muslim country, also enjoyed a nice moment. The Saudi flag was carried by the emir of Qatar throughout the game. A Doha skyscraper displayed “Congratulations Greens.”

“Wow! Right now, I’m experiencing every emotion. One of the top teams, Argentina, was defeated by us! “The two-week-long visitor from Riyadh, Saad, who was sporting a green Saudi Falcons scarf, spoke.

“Everything in the stadium today went according to plan thanks to how wonderfully our players performed. It was incredible.”

On his fifth and final try to capture the one major prize that has eluded him, Argentina’s Messi, 35, netted a penalty in the 10th minute of the overwhelming first half on Tuesday. Three of his goals—along with Lautaro Martinez’s—were also ruled offside.

However, at the start of the second half, Saudi Arabia, the tournament’s second-lowest-ranked squad after Ghana, tossed prudence to the wind and charged at Argentina’s defense in front of an enthused 88,012 spectators.

Abdelaziz al-Khwatem, a Saudi supporter, remarked, “Thank God, the players were up to it and we smashed them.” “They relied on one person, but we played as a team and defeated them, proving that we are capable. Saudi Arabia should be avoided since it hurts when it hits.”

On a Saudi television station, a lengthy row of cars with veiled women standing in their open sunroofs and waving the Saudi flag was seen.

At some point, the significance of the win will dawn. Prior to the game on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia has won just three World Cup games overall.

Hervé Renard, the Saudi Arabian coach, called it “one for the books.” Things can go utterly haywire at times.

At the conclusion of the contest, Mohammed Alowais, the goalkeeper who made two important saves late in the game to preserve the victory at Lusail Stadium north of Doha, appeared somewhat somber, probably unaware of the significance of the triumph.

Alowais sincerely remarked, “I am really satisfied with this outcome that we were able to score against this highly renowned team. “We’ve already started preparing. We were completely prepared, and maybe future efforts will provide greater outcomes. We secured our three points, therefore I thought we played very well in the closing seconds.”

Despite being down 1-0 at the break, Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari each scored early in the second half.

The game’s second half, which included additional time added at the referee’s discretion after the match had been completed, lasted for more than 50 minutes.

“All the stars were in our favor,” said Renard, who guided both Zambia and Ivory Coast to African Cup of Nations triumphs in 2012 and 2015.

Renard has also coached Angola and Morocco, the latter of which he guided to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Renard said, “We created history for Saudi football. “It is here to stay. The most crucial part is this. However, we also need to consider the future because we still have two games left that will be extremely difficult for us.”

Renard claimed that he instructed his team to keep the post-game celebration to 20 minutes.

That is all, he said. But there are still at least two more games.

They still have Group C matches against Poland on Saturday and Mexico on Tuesday. Despite the upset, both are still likely to defeat Saudi Arabia.

The pundit also raised the notion that Messi and Argentina underestimated Saudi Arabia, which is only placed No. 51 in the FIFA rankings. Third-place Argentina.

“You know the motivation is not like you are playing Brazil,” he added.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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