While Argentina fans were at a loss for words at Lusail Stadium after their star-studded team’s shock 2-1 defeat in their opening game of the Qatar World Cup, the Saudi Arabian fans savoured the team’s greatest win in history.
Argentina, one of the big favourites for the World Cup title in Qatar, went into Tuesday’s match on the back of a 36-match unbeaten run.
But little did they know that their staggering run would be halted by a team that had not won a World Cup match for 28 years.
“Today Saudi Arabia won a World Cup match after 28 years. All these years, there were no wins in a World Cup. But today we won against Argentina. This is a historic day for my country,” said Predro, a Saudi fan.
“I hope we will have good results in the next couple of games.”
Abdullah, a journalist from Saudi, was delighted with the victory as well.
“It’s a historic day, today. It’s a very big win for us in a World Cup. We are happy for what the team have done today. I hope the team will continue to play well,” he said.
For Ahmed, the celebrations will go long into the night.
“We are writing the history. We will celebrate all night. It’s a historic win,” he said while proudly holding the Saudi national flag.
Kasim, Ahmed’s friend, says it’s hard believe that this day will ever come again.
“I cannot talk about this day, it’s history. It will be in history. I am so happy that we won this match. A day like this will not come again,” he said.
“Argentina are one of the best teams in this championship. So to win the first match against them, it will encourage the players.”
While the Saudi fans were on cloud nine, the crestfallen Argentinian still obliged every reporter that stopped them for a comment.
“The match was very bad for us today. It’s painful to my eyes. I really don’t know what to say. It’s really, really sad,” said Alfredo, who has travelled from Cordoba, Argentina, for the World Cup.
“Everybody thought Argentina would win this match, but’s it’s football. It can happen. You need to win in 90 minutes.”
Gonzalo, another Argentinian fan, felt many of the Argentinian players were not in their best physical condition.
“I think Saudi Arabia have some good players. Argentina, I think, there were three-four players that were physically down,” he said.
“It’s been a long year and we didn’t know that Saudi Arabia have good players. They suddenly scored two goals (in the second half). So we have to concentrate on the next match.”
Gonzalo felt Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni will have to make some changes for the next two games.
“Our coach (Scaloni) has to make some changes in defence. But I am sure we will win against Mexico,’ he said.
Joaquin, a young Argentina fan, was heartbroken after his team’s defeat that ended their 36-match unbeaten run.
“This was really unexpected. But at the same time, it’s not normal to have so many unbeaten matches. So one day it had to end,’ he said.
“But in a way, it’s good that it happened in the first match of the World Cup. We are still alive. We have two more matches to win, and if we win, I have the confidence that we will qualify for the next round.”
Joaquin also felt Argentina looked little complacent against Saudi Arabia.
“I think not all the players were in their best health conditions today. Messi, I think, he had a problem in his ankle. The other team had a strong mentality to win. Argentina were like ‘we will win like we were winning in the previous matches. But this is a World Cup and it needs more powers from the players,” he said.
Nevertheless, Joaquin congratulated Saudi Arabian fans on their team’s historic victory.
“All my congratulations to them. They were really respectful. My best wishes for them,” he said.
“Their fans were nice, obviously, there were some comments, but we congratulated them and they treated us with a lot of respect.”
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