In a thrilling Group C opener in Lusail, a brave and talented Saudi Arabia stunned two-time champion Argentina with one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st in the world, might have been eliminated early on after Lionel Messi scored the game’s first goal from the penalty spot and Argentina had three goals disallowed for offside.
However, the Green Falcons completely turned the game around in a dramatic 10-minute span following halftime. Saleh Al-Shehri tied the game with a low effort, and Salem Al Dawsari gave them the lead, causing chaos in the fans.
After displaying their ruthlessness on one end, they showed their toughness on the other, holding a brilliant Argentina front line at bay to clinch just their fourth World Cup victory and widen the group.
Argentina, led by Lionel Scaloni, entered the competition as one of the favorites after going 36 games without losing, which included winning the 2021 Copa America.
What a goal 🇸🇦💚 pic.twitter.com/lN1yuTxRKG— SAAD (@_z61) November 22, 2022
They now have to do everything they can to maintain their chances of achieving their first major victory since 1986 and give Messi a deserving cap to what will likely be his final World Cup. On Saturday, they play Mexico, and Saudi Arabia plays Poland.
So, who anticipated this?
Argentina was one of the top teams traveling to Qatar and was widely predicted to win the tournament thanks to their all-star lineup and formidable defense.
They were chaos personified in Russia in 2018 as they replaced coaches before the competition and started XIs during it before being eliminated in the final 16.
However, under Scaloni, they seriously got their act together. They don’t let up many goals and score a lot; in the five games leading up to the World Cup, they kept five clean sheets and scored 16 goals. They haven’t had a loss since falling to Brazil in the 2019 Copa America final.
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