BY: GERRY COX, at the Lusail Stadium and DAN LUDLAM, in London.
SALEH ALSHEHRI believes Saudi Arabia’s stunning 2-1 victory over Argentina was made even more impressive given they overcame the best player to ever play the game and the best team at the Qatar World Cup.
Alshehri cancelled out Lionel Messi’s opener from the penalty spot as Saudi Arabia completed a remarkable second-half comeback in one of the greatest shocks in World Cup history.
And victory for Alshehri and Saudi Arabia was made even more special given the calibre of opposition and defeating the game’s greatest-ever player, Messi.
“It feels so amazing to win our first game of the World Cup and especially scoring my first goal in this tournament,” Alshehri said afterwards.
“I hope we can continue on this path and we still have two matches to come.
“I hope we can pass through this group and go to the round of 16.
“You’re playing against the best player who has ever played the game and to win against Argentina, who for me are the number one candidate to win the World Cup, it’s a big boost for us.
“I think we can pass through this group if we think step by step.”
Saudi Arabia won seven of their 10 matches in a tough qualifying group to reach Qatar and Alshehri praised the self-belief within the squad.
“Honestly, we always have belief in ourselves,” he continued.
“No matter who the opponent was, I think we would have played a good match today.
“The best thing in football is to believe in yourself and that’s what happened today.
“We have three points now and we have two games left. If we win one of these two games I think we will pass, so we have good odds to pass.”