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S. Arabia declares public holiday after Arg. win



S. Arabia declares public holiday after Arg. win

King Salman declared a public holiday in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to mark the national team’s stunning 2-1 upset over Lionel Messi‘s Argentina at the 2022 World Cup.

The news is 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 Sunday.

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One of Prince Mohammed’s brothers, Prince Saud, posted pictures on Instagram showing the crown prince prostrating in thanks to God in a room where his other brother, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz, was also present, shown holding a Saudi flag and standing next to a smiling crown prince.

It was also a sweet moment for host Qatar, facing intense criticism over human rights in the conservative Muslim country. Qatar’s emir draped the Saudi flag over his shoulders at the match. A Doha skyscraper flashed “Congratulations Greens.”

“Wow! I have all the feelings right now. We beat Argentina, one of the great teams!” said Saad from Riyadh, who is in Qatar for two weeks and was wearing a green Saudi Falcons scarf.

“Our guys played so well — everything went right inside the stadium today. It was amazing.”

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 on Tuesday 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.

“Thank God, the players were up to it and we wiped them,” Saudi fan Abdelaziz al-Khwatem said. “They were relying on one player, we competed as a team and we wiped them, we are up to it. Watch out for Saudi Arabia because when it hits, it hurts.”

A Saudi television station showed a long line of cars with veiled women standing in their open sunroofs waving the Saudi flag. Celebrating children gave the victory sign.

The gravity of the victory will eventually sink in. Saudi Arabia is a team that had won only three World Cup matches in its history prior to the Tuesday game.

“One for the books,” Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard said. “Sometimes things are completely crazy.”

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Goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais, who made two key saves late in the game to preserve the win at Lusail Stadium north of Doha, was almost subdued at the end, perhaps not grasping the magnitude of the upset.

“I am very happy about this result that we have been able to obtain against this very storied team,” Alowais said solemnly. “We have prepared ourselves. We were 100% ready and hopefully we will have better results in the future. I felt we were especially good in the last minutes because we secured our three points.”

Not in just the last minutes. Despite trailing 1-0 at half-time, Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari managed to score a goal each early in the second half.

Then came more than 50 minutes, including added time at the end of the match at the referee’s discretion, of holding one of the tournament favorites at bay.

“All the stars aligned for us,” said Renard, who won the African Cup of Nations as coach of Zambia in 2012 and then again with Ivory Coast in 2015.

Renard has also coached Angola and Morocco, which he guided to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He took over Saudi Arabia in 2019.

“We made history for Saudi football,” Renard said. “It will stay forever. This is the most important. But we also need to think about looking forward because we still have two games that are very, very difficult for us.”

Renard said he asked his players to limit the celebration after the game to 20 minutes.

“That’s all,” he said. “But there are still two games — or more.”

They still must face Poland on Saturday and then take on Mexico next Tuesday in Group C. Both are probably still favorites against Saudi Arabia despite the upset.

He also suggested another possible truth: Messi and Argentina probably underestimated Saudi Arabia, which is only No. 51 in the FIFA ranking. Argentina is No. 3.

“But you know the motivation is not like you are playing Brazil,” he added.

Information from Reuters and the Associated Press was used in this report.

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‘He’s a Disgrace to Mexico’: Canelo Alvarez Shredded Into Pieces by Fans Despite Honest Apology to Lionel Messi For Violent Threats



‘He’s a Disgrace to Mexico’: Canelo Alvarez Shredded Into Pieces by Fans Despite Honest Apology to Lionel Messi For Violent Threats

The rising soccer fever stemming from the FIFA World Cub 2022, also saw a lot of drama revolving around it. And the recent Mexico vs Argentina match was a testament to the same. Pound-for-pound superstar Canelo Alvarez gave way to controversy for threatening football legend, Lionel Messi, after Argentina’s post-victory celebration. However, Alvarez recently took to social media to apologize for his statements.


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Mexico faced Argentina at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. It was a stressful match for Argentina, as it was the last chance for them to prove their mettle in the 2022 World Cup, after previously losing to Saudi Arabia.


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A goal each from Messi and Enzo Fernandez saved the day for Argentina. The victory, in turn, lifted the spirits of both the players and fans. Moreover, a video was later released showing the Argentinian team celebrating in their locker room.

Nov 5, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Canelo Alvarez weighs in for his super middleweight championship boxing match against Caleb Plant (not pictured) at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This video however did not sit well with Alvarez. He alleged that he saw Messi cleaning the floor and his shoe with the Mexican flag and jersey. Alvarez further went on to threaten the soccer icon. He did not even hesitate to ask Messi to pray for his safety from bodily harm.

However, Alvarez later took to Twitter to issue an official apology to Messi and the people of Argentina. He mentioned that he got carried away by his love and passion for his country.

Alvarez further went on to wish both teams success in the World Cup.

Canelo Alvarez evokes a response from fans after his apology

Fans were quick to respond after Canelo Alvarez issued an apology. In fact, they also took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the same.

I massively respect this actually. People can say sht on emotion & then double down & refuse to back down because of pride. Well done Canelo, that was classy

— Chris Andre Boxing (@BetBoxing) November 30, 2022

User @BetBoxing was quick to appreciate Alvarez for his apology. And also mentioned that what he did was a class act.

Messi won without acknowledging him. Not even one word LMAO

— charles (@Charlesbcgc) November 30, 2022

To be fair messi probably doesn’t even know who he is

— Chris Drinkwater (@cddrinkwater) November 30, 2022

Meanwhile, a few fans pointed out that Messi did not react to the threats. But, user @cddrinkwater felt that it might be because Messi is unaware of who Alvarez is.

He’s a disgrace to Mexico, Messi prob got Bivol to have a word with him or something 🤣

— Sergio Kamos📿 (@Kamzillaa17) November 30, 2022

User @Kamzilla17 did not mince words while calling Alvarez a disgrace to Mexico. Moreover, he joined other fans in stating that Dmitry Bivol might have had a hand in the apology.

On the other hand, user @AaaronnSTFC felt that footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a hand in Alvarez’s apology.


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While another user hilariously mentioned that Alvarez saw Mike Tyson wearing a Messi shirt.


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WATCH THIS STORY – Five fighters who have the best chance of beating Canelo Alvarez 

What are your thoughts on Alvarez’s apology? Do share in the comments below.

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Messi’s World Cup dreams remain intact after a win for Argentina over Poland



Messi’s World Cup dreams remain intact after a win for Argentina over Poland

Lionel Messi’s sporting legacy did not hinge on the result of Wednesday’s World Cup match between Argentina and Poland.

But his dreams of winning a World Cup, and achieving what he himself called the “impossible dream,” hung in the balance.

Argentina took the field at Stadium 974 in Doha for their final match of group play needing a win, or a draw and some help, to advance to the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup. With everything to play for, and in front of a crowd that provided the feel of a home match for Argentina, Messi and company finally broke through in the second half, punching their ticket to the round of 16 with an impressive 2-0 victory over Poland.

As the match wound down, the focus shifted from whether Messi and Argentina would advance, to whether Poland themselves – who entered the final day of group play atop the group – would survive.

Messi himself had an early chance in the 11th minute from a tough angle, but his shot was deflected behind goal by Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny for a corner. Poland would eventually clear, keeping the match level.

Argentina would have another tremendous chance in the 28th minute:

Szczensy managed to block a shot off the right foot of Julian Alvarez, but the rebound settled at the feet of Marcos Acuna, whose own attempt went just.

They kept the pressure on, and in the 33rd minute Angel Di Maria curled in a beautiful ball on a corner, forcing Szczensy to react and punch the ball over:

As you can see, even Szczensy appreciated Di Maria’s attempt at the Olimpico.

The Polish keeper would not appreciate what happened moments later. On a ball into the box, Szczensy came off the line to try and punch the ball away before Messi could get to it, and made contact with Messi’s face. After a review, Argentina was awarded a penalty.

And with the eyes of the world on him, along with the hopes of the nation, Messi stepped to the spot.

Only to be denied:

Here is another look at the effort from the Polish keeper, who read it right and then used his massive frame to deny Messi:

But Argentina kept the pressure on, keeping Poland on their heels and forcing Szczensy to make save after save. And by the time the whistle blew for halftime, Argentina had 14 shots to their credit, and Szczensy had made nine saves, including the penalty kick.

Yet the match was scoreless.

The story of the second half would be whether the one-way traffic of the match would finally result in a goal from Argentina, or if Szczensy and Poland could withstand the pressure, and perhaps counter with a goal of their own.

We got the mere seconds into the second half:

Argentina finally broke through off the first touch from Alexis Mac Allister, after the cross played back into the box from Nahuel Molina.

It was Mac Allister’s first goal for Argentina in international play.

The goal also put some pressure on Poland, and their own chances for advancing into the round of 16. Poland could advance even with a loss, but suddenly the result between Mexico and Saudi Arabia came into focus. Mexico scored twice early in the second half, pulling them level in the group with Poland on four points each.

Meaning the margin in both games could be decisive, with goal differential between Poland and Mexico the first tiebreaker, and goals scored the second.

So when Alvarez scored in the 68th minute, it was time to panic on the Polish bench. The goal from Alvarez meant that Poland and Mexico were level not just on goal differential, but also goals scored.

Which would bring the next tiebreaker into play, the FIFA “fair play points” calculus, into view. Poland, having been shown just four yellow cards during group play, held that advantage over Mexico, who had seen seven.

But another goal from either Mexico, or Argentina, would change that. As would a red card for either Mexico or Poland. Those also seemed like the only likely options, as Poland lacked any attacking capabilities throughout the match with Argentina. Messi and company continued to dominate possession and the flow of play, and even quick chances at counters failed to materialize for Poland.

In the 78th minute, Grzegorz Krychowiak received a yellow card for Poland, bringing that potential tiebreaker even closer, and reducing Poland’s margins for error that much more.

As the match moved into the 81st minute, Argentina seemed to dial back the pressure a bit, and settled for controlling the ball and the pace, rather than pushing forward as they had been for the first 80 minutes of play.

Argentina did have a fantastic chance at another goal in the 86th minute, when Poland gave the ball away in their own end. Lautaro Martínez won the race to the ball and put another shot towards goal for Argentina, but the ball rolled wide of the goal, keeping Poland alive:

Six minutes of stoppage time were added, meaning that Poland needed to hang on for a little longer, while hoping things remained as they were between Saudi Arabia and Mexico. Argentina had two incredible chances during stoppage time, the first of which required a header off the line to keep Poland alive:

Finally the final whistle blew, and it was time for Poland to sit and watch the match between Mexico and Saudi Arabia, and hope for good news.

Poland got that good news, as Saudi Arabia scored in stoppage time, giving Poland the edge on goal differential over Mexico.

You could almost hear the sighs of relief form the Polish bench, over the still-present roar of Argentina’s fans.

While the chaotic finish to both matches might be the story of the day, the bigger picture is Messi, and his dreams of a World Cup remaining intact after a difficult start in the loss to Saudi Arabia. With the victory from Argentina – and the win for Mexico – Argentina advances as the winners of the group, avoiding a meeting with France in the round of 16.

And Messi’s visions of an impossible dream survive for a few more nights, at least.

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Canelo Alvarez apologizes to Lionel Messi, Argentina over attacks: ‘I got carried away by the passion’



Canelo Alvarez apologizes to Lionel Messi, Argentina over attacks: ‘I got carried away by the passion’

Canelo Alvarez is sorry.

The boxing champion has issued an apology to soccer star Lionel Messi, as well as the nation of Argentina, following multiple threats and accusations on Twitter in recent days.

On Sunday, Canelo accused Messi of disrespecting Mexico after a video surfaced where Messi was seen taking off his cleats, and Messi’s foot appears to make contact with a Mexico jersey that was on the floor of their locker room after their 2-0 win over Mexico in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Canelo says he got carried by the emotions and was clearly in the wrong.

“These last few days I got carried away by the passion and love I feel for my country and made comments that were out of place, for which I want to apologize to Messi and the people of Argentina,” Canelo wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “Every day we learn something new, and this time it was my turn.

“I wish both teams much success in their matches today, and here we will continue supporting Mexico until the end.”

Estos últimos días me dejé llevar por la pasión y el amor que siento por mi país e hice comentarios que estuvieron fuera de lugar por lo que quiero disculparme con Messi y la gente de Argentina. Todos los días aprendemos algo nuevo y esta vez me tocó a mí.

— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) November 30, 2022

Les deseo mucho éxito a ambas selecciones en sus partidos de hoy y aquí seguiremos apoyando a México hasta el final 🇲🇽🇲🇽🇲🇽

— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) November 30, 2022

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