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The big upset puts the global spotlight on Saudi Arabian players

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DOHA, Qatar (AFP) – With a squad full of domestic league players and a French coach, Saudi Arabia’s shocking run of Lionel Messi and Argentina has suddenly put the team in the international spotlight.

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A skyscraper in downtown Doha was lit up with an image of the flag of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night as fans across the Middle East celebrated the unexpected victory. In London, the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat wrote: “Green magicians defy expectations.”

So just who are these guys?

While Saudi Arabia, the second lowest ranked team in the tournament, does not have a superstar like Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, many players were also part of the team that went to the 2018 World Cup. But no one plays outside their home country.

Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dosari became instant national heroes with second-half goals in a 2-1 win over the Argentines. Both of them play with Al-Hilal in the first Saudi League, as well as goalkeeper Muhammad Al-Owais, who kept winning with a pair of late saves. The three also played in Russia four years ago.

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