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

“Our guys played so well - everything went right inside the stadium today (Tuesday). 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 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. 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,” said Saudi fan Abdelaziz al-Khwatem.

Saudi television station showed a long line of cars with veiled women standing in their open sunroofs waving the Saudi flag. Other cars carried celebrating children giving the victory sign.

The entire game was played in an extraordinary atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium, with Argentina’s traditionally massive and raucous following matched by the thousands of Saudis who had come over the border to cheer on their team.

“We were expecting Saudi would be easy and to score five goals against them. But the strategy of the Saudis at the end was not to let us have the ball at all. They made the goals and that was it,” said 21-year-old Argentinian fan Juliana Vega.