Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, has showered praises on Saudi Arabia for their unexpected victory over 2022 FIFA World Cup favourites, Argentina, on Tuesday morning.
Goals from Saleh Al Shehri and Salem Dawsari sealed a come-from-behind 2-1 victory after Lionel Messi had put the South American champions in front within 10 minutes at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Shaikh Salman said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate Saudi Arabia for showcasing incredible grit, character, and discipline to register a historic victory over Argentina.
“I am confident that this victory will inspire the rest of the AFC’s representatives. Saudi Arabian teams have continued to perform remarkably in all of the AFC’s competitions and their opening victory on the global stage is a testament to the commitment of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to raise the standards of the game across all levels,” added Shaikh Salman.
The South Americans opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Messi coolly tucked home from the penalty spot after Saud Abdulhamid had upended Leandro Paredes in the box, allowing Argentina’s captain to become the first player from his country to score at four FIFA World Cups.
But an incredible five-minute spell after the break saw Al Shehri and Al Dawsari turn the game on its head as Saudi Arabia went 2-1 up by the 53-minute mark before withstanding an Argentina onslaught to end their opponents’ 36-game unbeaten run and securing the greatest ever result in their history.