Saudi Arabia announces public holiday to celebrate World Cup win over Argentina
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have announced Wednesday as public holiday after the team caused the biggest shock so far in World Cup history Tuesday afternoon.
King Salman announced a public holiday in the Middle Eastern country in order to celebrate the historic victory over the two-time world champions.
The holiday applies to all those in public and private sectors, as well as students in the country.
Fans around the world couldn’t believe what was happening in the day’s earliest kick off in the World Cup, as Argentina were defeated in their first group game.
There was little doubt that Saudi Arabia deserved their win, with two excellent second half goals, including Salem Aldawsari’s stunning winner.
Even Lionel Messi opening the scoring, and numerous rightly disallowed goals for the South Americans, couldn’t stop their opponents, ranked 50 places below them in the FIFA rankings.
Unsurprisingly fans at the ground, who outnumbered their Argentine rivals due to the close proximity between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were in high spirits.
Rubbing it in to those who were following Argentina, Saudi fans even smashed out the Cristiano Ronaldo celebration in front of the South Americans.
No doubt their celebrations will be lasting long into the night, and now they’ll even be allowed to carry on until Wednesday in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking after the win, Saudi manager Herve Renard, a two-time African Cup of Nations winner, was unsurprisingly full of praise for his players.
“Congratulations to these fantastic players,” Renard said.
“I decided to come to this country three and a half years ago and since this time I’ve had the management, amazing president and the ministry of sport were always behind us.
“Even when we visit our prince two, three weeks ago he didn’t put any pressure on us.
“This is the way you have to work in football because when you are putting too much pressure it’s not working all the time.
“We prepared very well and today all the stars in the sky were in the same line for us.
“But don’t forget Argentina are still a fantastic team. They came here without losing lose any game in 36 and they are South American champions.
“They have amazing players, but this is football. Sometimes things completely crazy can happen.”
Next up his side face Poland on Saturday and then Mexico the following Wednesday. Having beaten one of the tournament favourites already, they’re sure to show no fear as they attempt to get out of the group stages.
Lionel Messi had put La Albiceleste 1-0 up in the 10th minute with a coolly dispatched penalty awarded after Leandro Paredes was grappled to the floor from a corner kick.
Argentina, playing against a ridiculously high line, had three disallowed goals in the first half. Messi had one chalked off, before Lautaro Martinez had a pair of efforts ruled out.
Herve Renard’s side made the game unbelievably frenetic and moments after the restart they equalised against the run of play.
Saleh Al-Shehri absolutely rinsed Cristian Romero and beat Emiliano Martinez with a left-footed finish that went across the goalkeeper.
The scenes at the Lusail Stadium were breathtaking but then just five minutes later the roof nearly came off the place when Salem Al-Dawsari cut in from the left flank and curled a beauty into the far corner to complete a remarkable turnaround.
Martinez got a hand to it but couldn’t keep out the strike and Al-Dawsari performed a backflip celebration as the noisy Saudi fans went wild.
Argentina had the chance to go a record 37 games unbeaten but the run has been ended in surprise fashion in the Group C opener.
Prior to Tuesday’s defeat, Argentina had not lost a game since the 2019 Copa America semi-final loss to Brazil.
Lionel Scaloni rang the changes in a bid to salvage the result but Saudi Arabia, who finished above Japan in qualifying, gave absolutely everything and delivered a slew of brave blocks.
After more than 13 minutes of added time was played to follow the new FIFA guidelines, the Green Falcons held on for the biggest victory they’ve ever achieved in just their 17th World Cup fixture.
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