Saudi Arabia’s army of fans keep their hopes alive despite 5-goal rampage by Russia

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Fri, 2018-06-15 00:54

JEDDAH: The Green Falcons failed to fly high on Thursday night, with Saudi Arabia’s national team on the receiving end of a 5-0 thrashing in the first game of the World Cup.

But despite Saudi Arabia’s defeat by tournament hosts Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, fans watching from afar were still hopeful that points would bring prizes in future games.

As millions of football fans tuned in from around the world, some of those cheering for the Saudi Arabia team gathered at a designated viewing tent in Jeddah, organized by the General Sports Authority (GSA).

Many spoke of their disappointment at Russia’s resounding victory — but others looked forward to the team’s upcoming games against Uruguay and Egypt.

“The result was disappointing for us. 5-0 … hopefully the next games will be better for our national team,” said Tala, one of the assembled fans.

With adults and children with brightly colored face paint gathered to watch the game, emotions ran high as the Russian side scored again and again. 

Another fan, Badr, said he would continue cheering for his team despite the defeat. 

“The match was not really as good as we expected. 5-0 is a bit hard for us,” he said. “I hope we do good in the next matches and I have high hopes for Saudi Arabia. This is the first match so it’s fine. We have entered FIFA, so that is a big achievement for Saudi Arabia. I am cheering for Saudi Arabia all the way — no matter what happens, I am still with the Green Falcons.”

Sara, another fan, praised the fact that the Saudi team had qualified for the World Cup at all — and wished the team the best of luck in future.

But Khalid, also part of the crowd, was not so positive. “I think what we saw wasn’t (about) luck but a bad performance by the Saudi team. We were hoping for more after our matches with Germany and Italy. But what we saw today was an extremely bad performance,” he said. 

Yet for Roua, just watching the game with her family was enough. 

“We were upset with the result of the match. But we are still enjoying watching the games in this atmosphere,” she said. 

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