Kingdom Come, Kingdom Gone

When Saudi Arabia participated in its first World Cup back at USA'94, they came into that event anonymous and discreet, but left hijacking all prognostications by riding into the Second Round wearing CinderAllah's proverbial glass sandal.

On top of that they were fan favorites. What neutral couldn't support their free-spirited and expressive play, the youthful zeal of 11 presumed virgins who were just happy to be there?

Oh, and That One Goal

Unfortunately, KSA has had one belittling game after another. Starting at France'98....

Four years later in Japan/Korea, the drubbings continued...

And lots of stuff happened. Sept 11, 2001 stuff. "Terrorism" stuff.

Is all gone awry from the sweet, sheesha-induced summer haze of USA'94. No longer can they ever be darlings and win an objective spectator's heart. Even Arabs don't root for them -- including their own self-loathing citizens. Oh, and fun is not allowed.

What an image problem. Known more for beheadings than headers, shots to the dome than shots on goal. More Osama bin Laden than Saeed al Owairan.

But what a fucking goal.