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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Saudis hail their heroes after 'historic victory' over Argentina

Supporters of Saudi Arabia celebrate their team's victory during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium, north of Doha, on Tuesday. - AFP
Supporters of Saudi Arabia celebrate their team's victory during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium, north of Doha, on Tuesday. - AFP

LUSAIL, Qatar: Saudi Arabia's sensational 2-1 victory over Argentina at the World Cup has sparked euphoria in the Islamic kingdom.


Saudi media on Tuesday labelled one of the tournament's greatest ever shocks as a "historic victory" and a "heroes' fairytale."


Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed al Owais was particularly praised, with his saves securing the win against the heavy favourites in Qatar.


"A thousand, thousand congratulations, heroes," wrote Saudi Sports Minister Abdalaziz bin Turki al Faisal on Twitter.


The head of the Saudi entertainment authority, influential sports official Turki al Shaikh, gave free entry to three amusement parks to celebrate the victory.


Lionel Messi said Argentina's shock loss to Saudi Arabia was a "very heavy blow" but vowed the South American champions would bounce back from the defeat.


"It's a very heavy blow, a defeat that hurts, but we must continue to have confidence in ourselves," Messi said after Argentina crashed to a stunning 2-1 loss in Group C.


"This group is not going to give up. We will try to beat Mexico," he added.


Messi gave Argentina a 10th-minute lead from the penalty spot on Tuesday at the Lusail stadium but second-half goals from Saleh al Shehri and Salem al Dawsari helped the Saudis pull off one of the greatest shocks in World Cup history.


It could have been so different but for three tight offside calls in the first half that went against Argentina, denying them three potential goals.


In the second half, coach Lionel Scaloni's men failed to exploit the Saudis' high defensive line in the way they had managed before the break. SEE ALSO P


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