Saudi Arabia has declared Wednesday, Nov. 23 a national holiday after the country beat Argentina 2-1 in a World Cup 2022 match.
The unlikely victory by a 51st rank team over the third best team sent shock waves across the footballing world and the result has been touted as one of the biggest upsets in the sport.
The Saudis put an end to the Argentine team's 36-match winning streak.
The public holiday will be for all state employees “and the private sector, and male and female students in all educational stages”, the government announced on Tuesday evening, according to major publications around the world from The Guardian to Al Jazeera.
The Saudi Arabia victory has been hailed as a major win back home, with the inner circle of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appearing jubilant, and the leader was pictured embracing his brothers after the full-time whistle.
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.”
Match watched by many in kingdom
The match was watched by many in Saudi Arabia, as it was reported that students at universities were given the afternoon off to watch the game, and city streets were empty as women joined men in many cafes and restaurants glued to screens – a new phenomenon in the desert kingdom.
Saudi Arabia's victory also brought other countries in the gulf together -- an almost unthinkable development prior to the match.
Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, tweeted his congratulations.
Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, draped himself in the Saudi flag.
Watch: #Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad is seen carrying #SaudiArabia’s flag and draping it around his neck during the Kingdom’s match against Argentina at the FIFA #WorldCup.https://t.co/G450866hTh pic.twitter.com/YB0Pj08uJS— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) November 22, 2022
The image of such joviality has downplayed the five years of enmity in the lead-up to the World Cup, in which Prince Mohammed had boycotted Qatar and severed ties.