40 years after the Algerian epic against West Germany in the Spanish city of Gijon, when Lakhdar Belloumi and Rabah Madjer scored a double that is still fresh in the mind, Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dosari copied the same scenario, leading the Saudi Arabia to a shocking victory over Argentina in Qatar.
The similarities between the two matches are notable: the first was played by the West German national team, delighted by the victory of the Nations Cup against Belgium in 1980, and counted among its ranks a golden generation such as Karlheinz Rummenigge, Paul Breitner , Felix Magath, Pierre Littbarski and others.
The second was fought by the Argentine national team, champion of its continent also in the 2021 edition, and armed with a record that counts 36 games without defeat, dating back to more than three years ago.
The Argentine national team also includes the legend Lionel Messi, seven-time winner of the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, as well as many big stars such as Angel Di Maria.
In 1982 in Spain, West Germany started their match against Algeria arrogantly, as their coach at the time, Jupp Derval stated: “If I lose, I will go back on the first train to Munich”, as did players, such as Rummenigge said: “We will score many goals. We will dedicate the seventh to our wives and the eighth to our dogs.” As for defender Manfred Kalts, he said: “I’ll play them in full dress”, referring to the ease of defeating the “Desert Warriors”.
However, at the “El Molinon” stadium, the Algerians, in their first participation in the World Cup, under the guidance of coaches Mohieddine Khalef and “the legend” Rachid Al-Makhloufi, fought a football epic, managing to win with goals from Madjer and Belloumi, against Rummenigge’s goal.
The Algerian adventure ended in great sadness following what has been dubbed the “Disgrace of Gijon” after West Germany defeated Austria 1-0 in a mutually beneficial and suspicious result as we qualified together.
5 fatal minutes
At Doha’s Lusail Stadium, Saudi Arabia fell short of expectations, as did Algeria, resulting in one of the biggest surprises in the World Cup finals.
Many thought Saudi Arabia would collapse after falling behind to an early Messi goal from a penalty kick, but they struck back strongly early in the second half and in 5 crazy minutes the scene completely changed.
The star, Saleh Al-Shehri, managed to run a ball down the front and put it under the control of Argentine defender Christian Romero, before flicking it out of reach of ‘Tango’ goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
According to the statistics network “Opta”, Al-Shehri became the third oldest player to score for Saudi Arabia at the World Cup (29 years and 21 days), after Youssef Al-Thunayan (34 years and 218 days) and Sami Al-Jaber (33 years and 185 days).
The goal was the key to returning the result to the Saudi national team, as the team of “Albiceleste” just got over the shock until the second goal.
The genius of Dossary
Al-Dossary, nicknamed the ‘Tornado’, scored a splendid goal, when he dispatched two defenders with a technical flick, before hitting a rocket ball that slotted into the Argentine goalkeeper’s net.
Al-Dosari became the second Saudi player to score a goal in two different versions of the World Finals, along with Sami Al-Jaber, who praised him by saying on his Twitter account: “Any player can score, but not everyone can catch daring decisions and create a ball out of the ordinary, a scene that will be immortalized in history”.
He continued: “When the ball reaches Salem Al-Dosari’s feet, expect to be dazzled at any moment. A heavy star and a big personality who has confidence and courage to make decisions, regardless of the opponent’s identity. We want you good, hero.”