FIFA World Cup: Saudi Arabia King declares public holiday on Wednesday after Argentina win

The King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has declared on Wednesday a public holiday in celebration of the kingdom’s historic win against Lionel Messi-led Argentina at FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1 in one of the greatest World Cup upsets in history.

King Salman declared a public holiday for all employees and students to mark the achievement, a feather in the cap of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who recommended the royal order, state media said. Prince Mohammed was not seen at the match but had been front and centre at the tournament opening on Sunday.

“It is directed that tomorrow, Wednesday, be a holiday for all employees in all sectors of the state and the private sector, and male and female students in all educational stages,” stated the order.

On his fifth and final quest for the only major trophy to elude him, Messi, 35, scored a 10th minute penalty in a dominant first half display by Argentina during which he and Lautaro Martinez also had three goals disallowed for offside.

But Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament after Ghana, threw caution to the wind at the start of the second half, charging at Argentina’s defence in front of a frenzied 88,012 crowd.

The entire game was played in an extraordinary atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium, with Argentina’s traditionally massive and raucous following matched by the thousands of Saudis who had come over the border to cheer on their team.

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