Muscat: Abdullah Saud Al Enezi, Saudi Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, described Saudi Arabia’s victory over Argentina as a moment of pride not only for Saudi Arabia but also for all GCC countries and the Arab world.
Two-time World Cup champions and competition favourites Argentina crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their opening game of Group C at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday.
Describing this as a history, Saudi Ambassador said: “All this became possible with the blessings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister and people of Saudi Arabia.”
Speaking to the Times of Oman, he also said that the victory was the result of diligent and hard work of the Saudi football team. “I strongly believe that our team will continue to perform its best to achieve honourable results in the World Cup,” he said.
Two second half goals from Saudi Arabia made history as the Gulf nation came from behind to claim a shock three points in their World Cup opener.
Lionel Messi had opened the scoring from the spot for an Argentina side that were otherwise unable to break through. Argentina face Mexico in their next group game as Saudi Arabia take on Poland.
Messi had opened the scoring just ten minutes in with a cool penalty, and as Argentina put the ball in the net three more times before the half time whistle – with every one being ruled out for off-side – it was looking like one-way traffic.
It was a far from vintage performance from Argentina, ultimately punished when Saleh Al Shehri latched on to a long ball and lashed a left-foot shot into the far corner of Emi Martinez’ goal soon after the second half resumed.
It was Saudi Arabia's first effort - but it would not be their last.
Just five minutes later, Salem Al Dawsari scored one of the goals of the tournament in the 53 rd minute to launch the Saudis into an astonishing lead.
An exceptional save at close range from Mohammed Al Owais shortly after preserved the underdog’s lead, and the Albiceleste failed to meaningfully threaten for the remainder of this astonishing match.