Saudi Arabia stun Messi and Argentina


LUSAIL, Qatar — Saudi Arabia pulled off one of many greatest World Cup shocks ever to come back from behind to beat Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday.

Argentina, one of many favourites to raise the trophy, dominated the primary half and went forward by Lionel Messi‘s first-half penalty. However a shocking combat again from Saudi Arabia after the break noticed Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari each rating within the house of 5 minutes to go away Argentina defeated for the primary time since June 2019 — a run of 36 unimaginable matches.

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1. Saudi Arabia trigger one of many greatest shocks ever

Argentina do not begin World Cups nicely, however this was a shocking upset even for them. Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st on this planet (between Qatar and Greece), scored twice in 5 chaotic minutes early within the second half to report one of many competitors’s biggest-ever shocks — just like Cameroon beating Diego Maradona’s reigning champions in 1990.

Saudi Arabia have been barely within the sport throughout a primary 45 minutes dominated by Argentina and headed off the sector at half-time wanting like a workforce clinging on for expensive life. However objectives from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari — a right-foot effort that flew into the highest nook and an early contender for purpose of the match — capped a outstanding turnaround.

And when the impetus was on Argentina and captain Lionel Messi to discover a comeback, they lacked composure and precision in entrance of purpose.

Argentina will cling to the truth that after shedding to Cameroon of their opening sport of the 1990 World Cup they nonetheless managed to achieve the ultimate. However after arriving in Qatar as reigning South American champions and on the again of a 36-match unbeaten run, this marketing campaign was meant to be completely different. Simply as they did at Russia 2018, it appears to be like as if they’re once more going to make arduous work of the group stage.

2. Argentina solely have themselves guilty

Lionel Scaloni’s facet ought to have been out of sight at half-time however someway discovered themselves behind early within the second half. They solely had themselves guilty; with a bit extra care, they might have been 5-0 up on the break.

Messi had a very good probability saved by Mohammed Al-Owais. After the penalty, that they had three objectives chalked off due to offside, twice from Lautaro Martinez and one other from Messi.

Saudi Arabia got here into the World Cup with a repute of discovering objectives arduous to come back by. Regardless of failing to register a single shot within the first half, they managed to beat Emi Martinez twice in 5 minutes within the second half.

What is going to fear Scaloni most is that Argentina had greater than half-hour after going behind to drive a draw and even win the sport, however they rapidly resorted to pumping crosses into the field that the Saudi defence mopped up with ease. With video games towards Poland and Mexico to come back, Argentina will nonetheless imagine they will qualify for the knockout rounds, but it surely was not the beginning they have been anticipating.

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3. Saudi Arabia again up followers’ confidence

Saudi Arabia supporters have crossed the border into Qatar within the hundreds and arrived genuinely hopeful of matching their efficiency on the 1994 World Cup in the US, once they reached the spherical of 16.

Maybe earlier than the match kicked off, they have been the one ones who believed it, however not anymore. A lot of the supporters who travelled to the Lusail Stadium early on Tuesday morning admitted they weren’t anticipating a lot from the sport vs. Argentina and thought they’d seemingly have to choose up factors towards Poland and Mexico to progress from Group C. As an alternative, they dealt an enormous win for soccer in Asia — particularly after each Qatar and Iran opened their campaigns with abject performances towards Ecuador and England, respectively.

It was solely after half-time that they started to defend like a workforce that stored six clear sheets in qualifying. Their final World Cup started with a 5-0 thumping by hosts Russia, however what a distinction 4 years could make: a day that can go down in each the historical past of Saudi Arabian soccer and the World Cup itself.

Participant scores

Argentina: E. Martinez 6, Molina 5, Tagliafico 5, Romero 4, Otamendi 5, Parades 6, De Paul 6, Gomez 5, Di Maria 6, Messi 6, La. Martinez 6.

Subs: Li. Martinez 6, Fernandez 6, Alvarez 6, Acuna 6.

Saudi Arabia: Al-Owais 9, Al-Bulayhi 8, Abdulhamid 7, Al-Shahrani 7, Al-Tambakti 8, Al-Malki 7 Al-Dawsari 8, Al-Shehri 8, Kanno 7, Al-Faraj 7, Al-Brikan 6.

Subs: Al-Abid 6, Al-Ghannam 6, Al-Burayk 6, Asiri 6, Al Amri 6.

Greatest and worst performers

BEST: Mohammed Al-Owais

The Saudi goalkeeper made two unbelievable saves, one to disclaim Messi after 90 seconds and one other within the second half when the ball rebounded off Nicolas Tagliafico.

WORST: Cristian Romero

The defender wobbled when Saudi Arabia put Argentina beneath stress after half-time and was substituted after the second purpose.

Highlights and notable moments

Lionel Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

However Saudi Arabia hit again after which hit this purpose to take the lead.

After the match: What the gamers and managers mentioned

Argentina’s Lionel Messi: “It is a very hard blow for everyone; we did not expect to start this way. Things happen for a reason. We have to prepare for what is coming; we have to win, and it depends on us.

“There are not any excuses. We’re going to be extra united than ever. This group is powerful, and we’ve got proven it. It’s a state of affairs that we’ve not gone by in a very long time. Now we’ve got to indicate that this can be a actual group.

“My message to the supporters is to have faith. We won’t leave them stranded. We knew that Saudi Arabia is a team with good players, that they move the ball well and that they push the [defensive] line a lot. We worked on it, but we rushed a bit. We have to go back to the base of who we are. We have to think about what’s next.”

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni: “They scored two goals in their only two shots on goal. We have to get up. It’s a sad day today, but we need to have our heads up and continue. We are hurt, but we need to turn things around and win our next games. We continue to believe the same as we did before. The World Cup has this: you can be infinitely superior, and things don’t go your way. It’s never good to lose. We came into the World Cup in the best possible way, on a good run. We knew that it would eventually end. Fortunately, we have two [more] group games, and we are going to get it done.”

Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard: “All the stars in the sky were aligned for us, but don’t forget Argentina are still a fantastic team. This is football, sometimes totally crazy things can happen…

“Typically the opposition doesn’t have the perfect motivation. It is regular; it additionally occurred to us when enjoying decrease groups. Some folks do not perceive, however you may think about that if you’re enjoying towards Saudi Arabia, the motivation will not be the identical as enjoying towards Brazil.”

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

– Messi became the fifth player in history to score at four FIFA World Cups. He scored 16 years after his first World Cup goal (vs. Serbia in June 2006), which is the longest gap between goals by the same player in World Cup history.

– Argentina were flagged for as many offsides (7) in the first half against Saudi Arabia as in their entire previous two World Cup group stages combined (5 in 2018, 2 in 2014).

– Saudi Arabia are the second Asian nation to score vs. Argentina in a World Cup. The other is South Korea (scored in 1986 and 2010).

– Saudi Arabia scored multiple goals in a match for the first time since October 2021 (W 3-2 vs China.)

– Argentina entered on a 36-game unbeaten streak (started in July 2019), one shy of tying the longest in men’s national team history (2018-21 Italy.)

– According to Caesars’ official Twitter account, Saudi Arabia was 25-1 to defeat Argentina. Argentina moved from +550 earlier than the match to +700 to win the World Cup because of the upset.

Up subsequent

Argentina: Lionel Scaloni’s males will tackle Mexico on the identical stadium on Saturday in a match which is able to show essential to their hopes of qualifying. They wrap up the group stage towards Poland on Nov. 30 at Stadium 974 in Doha.

Saudi Arabia: Subsequent up for Saudi Arabia comes Robert Lewandowski’s Poland on the Training Metropolis Stadium in Al Rayyan on Saturday, with their last group sport towards Mexico on Nov. 30 on this stadium.

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