40 years after the Algerian epic against West Germany in the Spanish city of Gijon, when Lakhdar Belloumi and Rabah Madjer scored a brace that is still lingering in the minds, Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dosari copied the same scenario, leading Saudi Arabia to a shocking victory over Argentina in Qatar.
The similarities are great between the two matches. The first was entered by the West German national team, ecstatic by winning the European Nations Cup at the expense of Belgium in 1980, and it included in 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, also the champion of its continent in the 2021 edition, and armed with a record that includes 36 matches without losing, dating back more than three years.
The Argentine national team also includes in its ranks the legend Lionel Messi, winner of the Golden Ball award for the best player in the world seven times, in addition to many big stars such as Angel Di Maria.
In 1982 in Spain, West Germany entered its match with Algeria arrogantly, as its coach at the time, Jupp Derval, stated, “If I lose, I will return on the first train to Munich,” as well as the players, 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 will play with them in evening clothes,” 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 leadership of coaches Mohieddine Khalef and “the legend” Rachid Al-Makhloufi, fought a football epic, and managed to win with the goals of Madjer and Belloumi, against Rummenigge’s goal.
The Algerian adventure ended with great sadness as a result of what was called 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 Lusail Stadium in Doha, Saudi Arabia flouted expectations, as did Algeria, to achieve one of the biggest surprises in the World Cup finals.
Many thought that Saudi Arabia would collapse after falling behind with an early goal by Messi from a penalty kick, but it responded strongly at the beginning of the second half and within 5 crazy minutes the scene completely turned.
The star, Saleh Al-Shehri, succeeded in investing a front ball and passing it under the control of Argentine defender Christian Romero, before he fired it out of the reach of the “Tango” goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
According to the “Opta” statistics network, Al-Shehri became the third oldest player to score for Saudi Arabia in 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 “Albiceleste” team barely got over the shock until the second goal came.
Al-Dossary, nicknamed “Tornado”, scored a wonderful goal, when he got rid of two defenders with a technical movement, before hitting a missile ball that settled in the net of the Argentine goalkeeper.
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 every player can make bold decisions and make out of the ordinary ball, 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 great personality who has confidence and courage in making decisions, regardless of the opponent’s identity. We love you, hero.”