In one of the greatest World Cup victories in history, Saudi Arabia beat title favourites Argentina by 2-1 at the Lusail Stadium in Doha on Tuesday. Emiratis across the UAE expressed a sense of immense elation, with many celebrating from the comfort of their homes with their families and friends. Others took to the streets to celebrate, with a few even hitting the desert.
Emirati Jaber Al Jasimi noted that this win is not only for Saudi, but for the entire GCC. “Any country in the GCC [winning] is our success. This is one of the happiest moments [for us] this year, and we are incredibly happy and delighted to share this happiness with our brothers across the border.”
Abdullah Al Hussam was asleep when he woke up due to the excitement of his friends. “I woke up straight from my sleep [to] the environment of celebration,” he said.
Al Hussam was at the Empty Quarter on the southern-most tip of the country, near the Saudi Arabian border. “The land is very close to our heart. [It's not just that] Saudi won: Arabs won the match, against one of the strongest teams,” said Al Hussam. “We will have fireworks with barbecues tonight as a part of our celebration."
Salem Khadem Suroor Al Masam added that any country in the GCC feels like his own. “We are one family. We have families there in Saudi Arabia. It is [certainly] a big win for us, and we are an important part of the celebration,” said Al Masam.
“However, I am a bit old now to go out on the streets with my cars – but I have planned a celebration for family and friends at home."
Saeed Adel Al Rustumani expressed a similar sentiment. “It’s [a] victory for Arabs…. We cannot express our happiness, it is just beyond. This calls for a massive celebration, and I am all geared up for a fun evening with my family."
"I wasn't expecting this result", said Saudi Arabian national Mohammed Al-Juhani from Tabouk. "My eyes hurt a bit; I was unable to blink after the second goal. But it's worth it."
Another Saudi national, Omar Ahmed from Madinah said: “I am extremely happy that Saudi Arabia won this important match, because I didn’t expect this result. It was good to see the Saudi team playing without any pressure, and it was a result of teamwork.
"I’m quite confident that the Saudi team will do well in the coming matches, too. This will boost the morale and confidence of the team. My favourite player in the Saudi team is Salim Al Dosari," he added.
Sultan Al Hashmi, a marketing executive in the public sector, explained that they had been hoping for the best for the team, but the win was not anticipated. “Argentina is a very strong team, and winning against such a powerful team calls for a celebration. With this win, our name has just been elevated in the world of football.”
A family from Saudi Arabia living in Dubai was also overwhelmed by the win. Fahad Mawada Alwazir and his three children, Mohammad, Ali, and Yusuf were glued to their television.
Celebrations from Doha
Entrepreneur Abdul Azeez Al Mher was in Doha to witness the high-octane match between Saudi Arabia and Argentina. “We were waiting for the last second as Saudi had scored the second goal with Argentina at 1. The moment I heard time [was] up, I was jumping [with] excitement,” said Al Mheri.
“Our celebrations all across the GCC countries have already started, and congratulatory messages from my family residing in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi, and the UAE began as our win was declared,” he added.
Celebrations from expats
Mohamed Kayed, an Egyptian who had just arrived in Saudi for work, said that he was pleasantly surprised with the result. “The Argentinian team is strong, but the Saudi team played very well. The second goal was the World Cup A-class standard! The entire match was a joy to watch.”
Mawada Al Wazir, a Saudi national living in Dubai, explained that she took her kids out of school earlier today to watch the match. She was in the room when the Saudi team scored the first goal, running in as she heard the cheers of her three kids and husband in the living room.
“I stayed for the rest of the match and thought it was very good!” she said, adding that her family was very happy. Her son, Mohammad Moawaad, 13, described today as one of the best days of his life, and his country’s history.
“Only three days ago, I was joking with my friends, saying, ‘Imagine [if] we win this game – but to see it happen is amazing! I didn’t expect it, but I kept praying and hoping,” he said.
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