'No one can stop us now': Saudi Arabia fans dare to dream after stunning Argentina win

Saudi supporters set sights on World Cup 2022 knock-out stages after astonishing victory over international heavyweights

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Jubilant Saudi Arabia fans are setting their sights on more Qatar glory after their side caused one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history by beating favourites Argentina.

The unfancied Gulf side were widely expected to be the supporting players in the first act of Lionel Messi's bid to finally lift the coveted trophy on Tuesday.

But they stormed back from a goal down to secure an amazing 2-1 win — allowing fans to dream that a Dallas date with destiny could be repeated in Doha 28 years on.

Saudi Arabia emerged from the group stages of a World Cup for the only time in the US in 1994, eventually losing out to Sweden in the last 16 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

One more win — from remaining group games against Mexico and Poland — could be enough to extend their stay in Qatar.

Shock win just the start

“This win will help us go through, which would be an amazing achievement,” said Khaled Mohammed, a 30-year-old teacher from Jeddah, who was cheering on his home heroes in Qatar.

“The goals from Al Dawsari and Al Shehri were special. They played like men, and with their hearts. We have dreamt of playing in this World Cup for five years. This win has come from a higher power. No one can stop us now.”

It was a victory to cherish for Saudi Arabia's sizeable following in neighbouring Qatar after a group stage exit in the 2018 World Cup.

Moment of pride for all Arabs

Ali Eid said the historic win was a proud moment for all Arabs. The National

Ali Eid, a retired banker from Jeddah who flew in for the match, said it was a win that the entire Arab world could be proud of in the first World Cup to be staged in the Middle East.

“It was fantastic, everyone was happy. This is something very proud, not just for Saudi but all Arabs,” he said.

“This is the best thing we could have — it is like a gift.”

Mr Eid feels the team are capable of claiming a spot in the last 16 after withstanding all that Messi and his teammates could throw at them.

“I don’t think we can win it but we can make the last 16 now.

“This experience is enough for us. We looked like Argentina, and they looked like Saudi. Messi was nowhere.”

Next up for the overjoyed Saudi side will be a clash with Poland — another team featuring one of the world's best players in Robert Lewandowski — on Saturday before they finish the group stage against Mexico next Wednesday.

Their army of supporters can now dare to believe their World Cup adventure has only just begun.

Updated: November 23, 2022, 8:27 AM
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