Photo: ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images
Saudi Arabia’s goals against Argentina They are a green earthquake in the area destined for their fans next to the Doha Bay. Saudi sympathizers they jump, they scream, they go crazy, they take selfies, record videos. They immortalize with images what is already engraved forever in their memories.
“Today is World Cup history. Saudi Arabia beat Argentina and Messi. Everybody saw it,” an ecstatic fan inside this fan zone tells the BBC Arabic service.
Saudi Arabia made history by beating Argentina 2-1 after trailing on the scoreboard. Saleh al Shehri scored the first and Salem al Dawsari the second. Between the two goals barely five minutes passed. It was almost a delusion.
And a contrast with the unexpected disappointment albiceleste.
From the Argentine carnival to the Saudi party
With the first hours of sun, the streets of Qatar and the subway from the capital to the Lusail stadium were filled with white and blue shirts.
The Argentines put a soundtrack around the stadium more than three hours before the game.
They paid tributes to Diego (Maradona), praised Messi, danced, played drums and sang out their throats.
Both Saudi Arabia and Argentina are among the ten teams that attract the most fans to Qatar, although the rage for the albiceleste is not only shared by the Argentines themselves, but also by several thousand migrants from countries such as India, Nepal or Bangladesh who live in the small country of the gulf.
With the goal and Argentina’s partial victory at halftime, it seemed that the gaucho party would go on, but the albiceleste silenced and the Saudi celebrations emerged shortly after starting the second half with the two goals.
Party in the streets and Arab pride
Upon arrival in the fan zone of Saudi Arabia, the 60th minute of the game runs. Before distinguishing what the marker shows, the fuss is heard. You sound trumpets, there is noise. Saudi Arabia wins 2-1 and fights to keep the result with the knife between its teeth.
The feat is not easy. In addition, the game lasts beyond the eight minutes that are added after 90 ‘. The Saudis protest and whistle nervously against what they consider an excessively long extension by the referee.
Then finally the end is whistled and madness breaks loose.
To grant the interviews, the Saudis must momentarily interrupt their party.
They speak between gasps.
“Saudi Arabia was excellent. They did a great job. They fought and that is what we want, that the Arab countries do that”, says one of the fans interviewed by the Arabic service of the BBC.
“No one expected this result. All the expectations said that Argentina was going to win 4-0 or 5-0, but history has been made”, comments another.
At the end of the game, two children wave Saudi Arabian flags from the back seat of a luxurious white Mercedes Benz as they pass through a large avenue.
While BBC Mundo is talking to an Argentine fan, a Saudi sympathizer interrupts with a shout in the distance, raises his fist and smiles. It’s his day and he wants the world to know it.
Few Argentines show up in Doha Bay immediately after the game.
They have unfriendly faces and you have to insist for them to agree to talk.
“There were a lot of expectations. I thought it would be the easiest game in the World Cup, but it didn’t happen,” Gastón Caoutsiers Morell, an albiceleste fan, told BBC Mundo.
Camila Toledochipi, another Argentine fan, remains incredulous. “We had gone 36 games unbeaten and we lost against Saudi Arabia. I swear to you that I am very confused, but with a lot of faith in the team, ”she says.
Argentina has Mexico and Poland left in this group stage. Two games that Messi’s team will play on the wire, which experts consider one of the favorites to lift the cup.
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