Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2022. 1:47 pm CST.
Photo Credit: Saudi Press Agency
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Saudi Arabia continues celebrating its shocking and historic 2-1 over Argentina in the 2022 World Cup and will have an extra day to do so as King Salman has declared Wednesday a holiday in Saudi Arabia as the Middle Eastern nation has been taken over with football fever. On the other hand, Argentina, sunken in a somber mood, are taking stock and planning their comeback, helped a bit by the 0-0 draw between Poland and Mexico.
The 2-1 win over Argentina is Saudi Arabia’s best performance at a World Cup. Their biggest achievement so far in six trips to the world dance was in their debut in 1994 when they defeated Belgium 1-0 and reached the Last 16. Saeed Al-Owairan, who scored that goal, became a national hero back then.
This time around Saudi Arabians, who numbered in the thousands among the 88,021 fans watching the game live in the Lusail Stadium in Al Daayen and those following it on television back home, have been celebrating wildly since minute 53 when Salem Al Dawari scored a superb stunner of a goal.
And the celebrations are well deserved. They locked Argentina off and threw away the keys, and not even Lionel Messi could come up with a solution. Saudi Arabia went into the World Cup as the 31st ranked team out of 32 and to knock off the 3rd ranked team is one of the biggest achievements in World Cup history.
Prior to today’s win, Saudi Arabia had lost twice and drawn twice in matches against Argentina. But today, they not only beat the South Americans, they put a stop to Argentina’s three-year 36-game-winning-streak and left a whole nation and the world stunned.
So, while they celebrate in Saudi Arabia, the mood is somber in the South American country, hoping and praying for a comeback after their Saudis brought them back to reality, showing them that their team is human and on any given day, they can be manhandled and their dreams can be taken away in a jiffy.
And while their win over Argentina is now history, Saudi Arabia have to come up with repeat performances, even if not as good, against Poland and Mexico, if they want to emulate their 1994 participation.
And for Argentina, not everything is lost. After all, Spain lost their opener in South Africa in 2010 and went on to win the World Cup. And they themselves, going in as defending champions were beaten 1-0 by Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. That year Argentina bounced back and reached the Final though they lost 1-0 to Germany.
So, we wait and see what is in store for both in the coming games.
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