How Saudi Arabia's historic World Cup win over Argentina is inspiring female players

Victory over Lionel Messi's team is inspiring for women and future generations, fans say

A fan of Saudi Arabia cheers before her team's 2-1 Fifa World Cup victory over Argentina at Lusail Stadium in Qatar. EPA
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Female football players and fans across the kingdom are celebrating their national team's historic victory over two-time World Cup winners Argentina on Tuesday.

Women celebrated alongside men, calling the victory over the team of football star Lionel Messi “just the beginning”, as the team looks to build on its biggest day.

As the men's team reaches new heights, female fans now believe the women's team will not be far behind.

Last year, the women's national football team was launched, with more that 50,000 young girls signing up for the first ever schools league.

The team won their first international game in February when they beat Seychelles 2-0 in a friendly match.

“This is the power of great leadership of our Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. I am overwhelmed,” said Hadeel AlFadl from Jeddah.

“No one expected Saudi Arabia to beat Argentina. A new dream is born for all young Saudis. My heart is full.”

Fans of Saudi Arabia celebrate historic win over Argentina

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Doha, Qatar - November 22, 2022 Saudi Arabia fans celebrate in Souq Waqif after the match between Saudia Arabia and Argentina REUTERS / Pedro Nunes

“This is just the beginning. It shows our men and women are more than qualified, they are winners on the global scale and can achieve what they set their minds to. I have more hope now, and it is surely inspiring for women and future generations of the kingdom.”

Football is regarded as the national sport and is extremely popular with people of all ages.

The women's team was officially established by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation in 2019, which currently hosts 450 registered players, 49 qualified referees and more than 900 coaches.

“We have been raised watching and playing football and it is our favourite sport — one we can watch with our grandparents and children,” said Lujain Ahmed, a Saudi football player and fan in Jeddah.

“Today's victory will be remembered forever. Our women's team is phenomenal, and I hope they shine as bright and win many more titles soon.”

Football fans in Saudi Arabia celebrate after win over Argentina

Saudi football fans celebrate after win over Argentina

“My heart exploded. This [win] is the magic of positive leadership — how one man can give so much confidence to his country and youth,” Salma Mohammed, a football fan in Jeddah, told The National.

“I loved the reaction video and pictures of the Crown Prince, we feel the pride and joy for our home country and for our team that showed us they are winners.

“My girls who play football with me watched the game at my grandfather's house — he has a huge projector and hall which we use for occasions like these.”

Diana Wijaya, a football fan in Khobar, said: “We're dying because we are so happy. My friends and I watched the game together at home and we took to the streets to see the parades and celebrate this historic win.”

Updated: November 22, 2022, 8:47 PM