Saudi King Salman has declared a national holiday after the football team’s stunning World Cup win on Tuesday over Argentina, state media reported.
The 86-year-old monarch “orders that tomorrow, Wednesday, be a holiday for all employees in the public and private sectors, as well as male and female students at all educational levels”, the Al-Ekhbariya channel said on Twitter.
The move comes in the middle of final exams in the Gulf nation, indicating that they will have to be rescheduled.
The Saudi Green Falcons bounced back from conceding an early Lionel Messi penalty to produce one of the greatest World Cup shocks thanks to a Saleh Al-Shehri equaliser and a sublime Salem Al-Dawsari winner at the Lusail Stadium in Doha.
Celebrations erupted throughout the capital Riyadh after the final whistle blew, with fans forming impromptu dance circles and waving the sword-emblazoned national flag from the windows of speeding cars.
Al-Ekhbariya posted pictures of King Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, celebrating after watching the game with a group that included energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
Turki al-Sheikh, an adviser at the Royal Court and head of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, announced on Twitter that admission fees would be waived at major theme parks and entertainment centres in Riyadh on Tuesday.
Few could have predicted that Herve Renard’s Green Falcons, ranked 51st in the world, would topple the twice-world champions led by the feted Messi, who has seven Ballons d’Or to his name.
The team’s next match is on Saturday against Poland.
Germany Slump To Japan In Another World Cup Shocker
Spain Ignite World Cup Bid By Smashing Seven Past Costa Rica
Spain shredded Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday in a brutal destruction in their Group E opener which launched their bid to lift a second World Cup.
Avoiding the fate of giants Argentina and group rivals Germany, who lost 2-1 to Japan earlier on, Luis Enrique’s fancied side sparkled at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium, dominating possession and taking their chances mercilessly.
Ferran Torres netted twice and Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata were also on the scoresheet for the Euro 2020 semi-finalists in an emphatic romp.
In the past the 2010 World Cup winners have paid the price for profligacy but all three forwards Luis Enrique selected netted in the first half to pay back his trust in them.
The coach placed Asensio at false nine, flanked by Olmo and Torres, starting with Morata and Ansu Fati on the bench.
The coach opted to deploy Manchester City midfielder Rodri Hernandez in central defence, alongside club team-mate Aymeric Laporte, correctly anticipating his team would monopolise the ball.
It took only 11 minutes for La Roja to open the scoring, with Gavi stabbing a pass forward for Olmo to receive in the area and the RB Leipzig winger taking one sublime touch to turn and another to stroke the ball gently past Keylor Navas.
Costa Rica, who were a surprise package at the 2014 World Cup, beating Italy and Uruguay and drawing with England to top their group, were sliced apart again for the second goal 10 minutes later.
Jordi Alba’s low drilled cross was rammed home by Real Madrid forward Asensio past his former team-mate Navas, who might have done more to keep it out.
Torres stroked home from the penalty spot after Alba was fouled by Oscar Duarte –- a soft call on a hard night for Los Ticos, who were never in the game and failed to muster a shot at goal.
Barcelona forward Torres capitalised on more slack defending to fire the fourth past Navas early in the second half.
Luis Enrique was able to take off the effervescent Pedri and Torres before the hour mark in order to rest them for Sunday’s clash with Germany, and handed teenage Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde his debut.
The 19-year-old roared up the pitch in the build-up to Spain’s fifth goal, with substitute Morata crossing for Gavi to drill home with aplomb.
Kopa Trophy winner Gavi became the third youngest goalscorer at a World Cup at 18 years and 110 days old, after Mexico’s Manuel Rosas and record holder Pele.
Soler and Morata then got in on the act with stoppage-time strikes to pile further misery on Costa Rica and help Spain flex their muscles in a perfect opening match in Qatar.
Qatar World Cup: Saudi Arabia shock Argentina 2-1
Saudi Arabia secured a shocking 2-1 win over Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Group C of the Qatar World Cup on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia took the lead in the second half of the game at the Lusail Iconic Stadium with brilliant goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari.
Messi had given one of the pre-tournament favourites the lead from the penalty spot after a contentious VAR decision in the 10th minute but Saleh Al-Shehri levelled just three minutes into the second period to set up an almighty upset.
Al-Shehri squeezed in a low shot in the 48th minute while Al-Dawsari curled in a scorching strike from the edge of the penalty area in the 53rd minute to leave Argentina, one of the tournament favourites, looking shell-shocked.
The result ended Argentina’s 36-game unbeaten run, stretching back to defeat against Brazil three years ago.
La Albiceleste last lost their opening World Cup group game in 1990 – against Cameroon – but they went on to reach the final where they lost to Germany.
The two-time World Cup champions next face Mexico on Saturday, where victory is vital if they are to have any chances of progressing.
Argentina need at least a point to avoid throwing their hopes of progression into jeopardy.
Saudi Arabia will face Poland the same day and a win would all-but seal their progression to the knock-out stages, and most likely as group winners.
The winners of Group C will face the runner-up from Group D, containing France, Denmark, Tunisia and Australia, while the runner-up in Group D will face the winners of Group C.
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