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Saudi Arabia declares public holiday on account of beating Argentina in their FIFA World Cup opener

Saudi Arabia played arguably their best ever match at a FIFA World Cup as they beat hot favorites Argentina 2-1 in their opening fixture.

November 23, 2022 / 07:38 PM IST
Fans of Saudi Arabia celebrate their team's 2-1 victory over Argentina in a World Cup group C soccer match, outside the Lusail Stadium in Lusail Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Fans of Saudi Arabia celebrate their team's 2-1 victory over Argentina in a World Cup group C soccer match, outside the Lusail Stadium in Lusail Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Saudi Arabia fans at the World Cup were in disbelief after their team shocked Argentina on Tuesday, setting off jubilant scenes in Qatar and the Saudi capital. After one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history, fans flooded the streets outside Lusail Stadium waving green and white Saudi flags. Then they entered a nearby subway station chanting, singing — and even hugging Argentina fans.

In Saudi Arabia, King Salman announced a snap public holiday for all workers and students in the kingdom in celebration of the win. People watching the match at a fan zone in the capital, Riyadh, jumped with joy and cheered as the game ended. Drivers honked their horns in celebration. Saudi authorities also allowed free entry to a state-sponsored sports and entertainment festival.

Also Read: How Saudi Arabia beat Argentina

Many were simply incredulous after the 2-1 comeback victory over Argentina, which won the World Cup twice in 1978 and 1986. And Argentina is one of the favorites this time — or it was until Tuesday — and also won the South American championship last year.