World Cup 2022: Superb Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1 in Group C opener

A daring and good Saudi Arabia pulled off one of many largest shocks in World Cup historical past as they got here from behind to stun two-time winners Argentina in a improbable Group C opener in Lusail.

Ranked 51st on the planet, Saudi Arabia might have been achieved and dusted within the first half as Lionel Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot earlier than Argentina had three objectives dominated out for offside.

However the Inexperienced Falcons flipped the sport on its head in a shocking 10-minute interval after half-time, Saleh Al-Shehri levelling with a low effort and Salem Al Dawsari firing them forward to spark pandemonium within the stands.

Having proven their ruthlessness at one finish, they demonstrated a ruggedness on the different, holding a stellar Argentina entrance line at bay to safe solely their fourth World Cup win and throw the group broad open.

Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina got here into the event among the many favourites, on the again of a 36-game unbeaten run that included profitable the 2021 Copa America.

They now have all of it to do to maintain alive their hopes of a primary international triumph since 1986 and provides Messi a becoming ending to what’s very probably his World Cup swansong.

They face Mexico on Saturday, whereas Saudi Arabia tackle Poland.

One of many World Cup’s largest shocks

Effectively, who noticed this coming?

Argentina have been among the many elite groups heading to Qatar – tipped by many to go all the way in which, with a star-studded squad as strong on the again as they’re ruthless in assault.

In 2018 in Russia they have been chaos personified, chopping managers earlier than the occasion and beginning XIs throughout it earlier than going out within the final 16.

However beneath Scaloni they obtained their act collectively in a severe method. They don’t concede many and rating heaps – in 5 video games earlier than the World Cup they saved 5 clear sheets and netted 16 instances – and had not tasted defeat since shedding to Brazil within the ultimate of the 2019 Copa America.

That run is now over and in spectacular, humbling style.

In distinction to their opponents, few noticed Saudi Arabia making a dent at this event. Solely Ghana of the 32 nations in attendance rank decrease. That they had three victories earlier than this, however none of them larger.

At full-time, in wild scenes, their gamers dropped to the turf, prayed, hugged and screamed into the sky because the bench charged on to the pitch to affix them, weaving their well past disconsolate Argentina gamers.

Luck was ridden, particularly throughout a primary half when the writing was on the wall early by means of Messi’s penalty – awarded after Leandro Paredes was wrestled to the turf. Had Messi or Lautaro Martinez timed their attacking runs higher it might have been 4-0 on the break.

Having remained aggressive, Saudi Arabia seized their second in spectacular style.

Al-Shehri discovered the underside nook of Emi Martinez’s internet, Salem Al Dawsari discovered the highest – each ruthless finishes, every a hammer blow to Argentina that left them floored.

They got here at Saudi Arabia and threatened in more and more determined search of a method again in, however whenever a person in inexperienced stretched out a limb to deal with or threw a physique in to dam.

Keeper Mohammed Al Owais plucked balls out of the air and dropped on pictures aimed his method. When he was absent, Abdulelah Al Amri was there to move a goalbound effort off the road.

Eight minutes have been added on the finish and almost 14 have been performed, most of them within the Saudi Arabia half and accompanied by screams of pleasure and anguish from the group.

The ultimate whistle confirmed the unbelievable and despatched Herve Renard’s aspect into delirium. They’re the primary non-European workforce to beat Argentina on the World Cup since Cameroon in 1990.

If Argentina want one thing to cling to, it’s that they reached the ultimate following that opening defeat 42 years in the past. If you’ll lose group video games, it’s usually higher to take action first up, giving your self the video games to recuperate.

They’re, although, now arguably the victims of the most important shock in World Cup historical past, up there with England’s loss to america in 1950 and West Germany shedding to Algeria in 1982.

Consequence Yr Likelihood of victory for profitable workforce
Saudi Arabia 2-1 Argentina 2022 8.7%
USA 1-0 England 1950 9.5%
Switzerland 1-0 Spain 2010 10.3%
Algeria 2-1 West Germany 1982 13.2%
Ghana 2-0 Czech Republic 2006 13.9%

As for Saudi Arabia, the final three groups to beat Argentina on the World Cup have gone on to win the competitors (Germany in 2014, France in 2018) or reached the ultimate (Croatia in 2018).

Few will likely be predicting that, however they now have an excellent probability to match their effort of 1994 by reaching the final 16.

Participant of the match

Abdulelah Al AmriAbdulelah Al Amri

Line-ups

Argentina

Formation 4-4-2

  • 23Martínez
  • 26Molina
  • 13RomeroSubstituted forMartínezat 59′minutes
  • 19Otamendi
  • 3TagliaficoSubstituted forAcuñaat 71′minutes
  • 11Di María
  • 7De Paul
  • 5ParedesSubstituted forFernándezat 59′minutes
  • 17Gómez VillaverdeSubstituted forÁlvarezat 59′minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 22Martínez

Substitutes

  • 1Armani
  • 2Foyth
  • 4Montiel
  • 6Pezzella
  • 8Acuña
  • 9Álvarez
  • 12Rulli
  • 14Palacios
  • 15Correa
  • 16Almada
  • 18Rodríguez
  • 20Mac Allister
  • 21Dybala
  • 24Fernández
  • 25Martínez

Saudi Arabia

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 21Al OwaisBooked at 90mins
  • 12AbdulhamidBooked at 82mins
  • 17Al Tambakti
  • 5Al BulayhiBooked at 75mins
  • 13Al Mohammadi Al ShahraniSubstituted forAl Buraykat 90+9′minutes
  • 8Al Wahbi Al MalkiBooked at 67mins
  • 9Al BrikanSubstituted forAsiriat 89′minutes
  • 7Al FarajSubstituted forAl Abidat 45+4′minutesBooked at 88minsSubstituted forAl Amriat 88′minutes
  • 23Kanno
  • 10Al DawsariBooked at 79mins
  • 11Al ShehriSubstituted forAl Ghannamat 78′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Al Rubaie Al Yami
  • 2Al Ghannam
  • 3Madu
  • 4Al Amri
  • 6Al Burayk
  • 14Otayf
  • 15Al Hassan
  • 16Al Naji
  • 18Al Abid
  • 19Bahbri
  • 20Al Obud
  • 22Al Suweiti Al Aqidi
  • 24Al Shardan Al Dawsari
  • 25Asiri

Referee:
Slavko Vincic

Attendance:
88,012

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