Report on Interest
under logo

Saudi Arabia declares public holiday after beating Argentina 2:1

By News Desk

The Saudi Arabian Government has declared Wednesday as a national holiday to celebrate the country’s football team’s 2-1 victory against Argentina during a world cup match in Qatar.

It declared a national holiday after describing the victory as both a triumph on the pitch as well as a huge moment on the global sports stage, where the regional power has long sought a place in the spotlight.

Before the government made the declaration on Tuesday, fans had circled public squares in convoys of cars, waving the country’s green flag and proclaiming a new era of international football.

Euphoria reached the inner circle of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was pictured embracing his brothers after the full-time whistle, as well as sports cafes and public parks across the country.

Outsiders against an Argentine team on a 36-match winning streak surely, the victory was all that mattered to Saudi leaders at the moment when the final whistle sounded.

In a statement released by the government, the public holiday will be for all state employees and the private sector, and male and female students in all educational stages.

A marketing director at the Saudi ministry of housing, Ghassan Alwan, said:  “We are so happy about the result. It was an exceptional match from our falcons. Our faith in our players was in the right place. We wrote history tonight”.

A sports editor, Abdulrahman Abed, who described the winning as Incredible, massive, amazing, fantastic, added: “Congratulations to everyone. This means a lot to every Saudi. This will give a huge boost to every Arabic team in the World Cup.”

Saudis have long bristled at the notion that a love of sports and a keenness to attract global events amounted to image laundering, with many sports fans insisting that they too wanted to experience international competition and pitch their national teams into the mix.

Ahead of the match, Prince Mohammed told the national team: “All I want to tell you is stay relaxed, play your game and do your thing.” Few believed that this was just another game, however. In a country battered by criticism over human rights and geopolitical positions, this was a nation-building moment, a chance to turn a political tide.

After full-time, regional rivals embraced the Saudi win. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, tweeted congratulations. Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, meanwhile, briefly draped himself in the Saudi flag – an image that put to rest five years of enmity in the lead-up to the World Cup, in which Prince Mohammed had boycotted Qatar and severed ties.

That row is now firmly over and the Saudi victory was being received around the region as an achievement the Arab world could swing in behind. In South America, though, the reaction was markedly different with fans describing the loss as a humiliation for the country.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.

%d bloggers like this: