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Saudi Arabia declares public holiday to mark World Cup win over Argentina

King Salman declared a public holiday in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to mark the achievement, a feather in the cap of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who recommended the royal order state media said

Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina in the World Cup on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over Lionel Messi’s side, prompting an outpouring of Arab pride amidst the first staging of soccer’s top tournament in the Middle East.

King Salman declared a public holiday in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to mark the achievement, a feather in the cap of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who recommended the royal order state media said.

Prince Mohammed was not seen at the match but had been front and centre at the tournament opening on Sunday.

It was also a sweet moment for host Qatar, facing intense criticism over human rights in the conservative Muslim country. Qatar’s emir draped the Saudi flag over his shoulders at the match. A Doha skyscraper flashed “Congratulations Greens.”

“Wow! I have all the feelings right now. We beat Argentina, one of the great teams!” said Saad from Riyadh who is in Qatar for two weeks and was wearing a green Saudi Falcons scarf.

“Our guys played so well – everything went right inside the stadium today. It was amazing.”

On his fifth and final quest for the only major trophy to elude him, Messi, 35, scored a 10th minute penalty in a dominant first half display by Argentina during which he and Lautaro Martinez also had three goals disallowed for offside.

But Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament after Ghana, threw caution to the wind at the start of the second half, charging at Argentina’s defence in front of a frenzied 88,012 crowd.

“Thank God, the players were up to it and we wiped them. They were relying on one player, we competed as a team and we wiped them, we are up to it. Watch out for Saudi Arabia because when it hits, it hurts,” said Saudi fan Abdelaziz al-Khwatem.

A Saudi television station showed a long line of cars with veiled women standing in their open sunroofs waving the Saudi flag. Celebrating children gave the victory sign.

 

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Source
https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/after-world-cup-win-over-argentina-saudi-arabia-declares-public-holiday-on-wednesday-8283764/Indian Express
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