“Now we have to show that we are a real team,” Messi demanded. The attacking star is completing the fifth and final World Cup of his career in Qatar and is still dreaming of winning his first title. After the surprising defeat at the start, this is a long way off. For the first time in 20 years, Argentina must fear being eliminated from the group stage.
“It’s a situation we haven’t been in for a long time,” said Messi, calling the defeat to the furiously fighting men from Saudi Arabia a “heavy blow for all of us.” Nobody among the Argentines “expected to start like this”. The team had not lost 36 games in a row before.
In Saudi Arabia, the sensational victory triggered euphoric reactions. Saudi media hailed a “historic victory” and a “heroic epic.” The Saudi goalie Mohammed Alowais, who secured the win against the big favorite with his saves, was particularly celebrated.
“A thousand, thousand congratulations, you heroes,” Saudi sports minister Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal wrote on Twitter. The head of the Saudi entertainment authority, influential sports official Turki Al-Sheikh, opened entry to three amusement parks to celebrate the win.
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