Argentina Loses First Game
In a stunning Group C encounter on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia defeated Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-1 in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
Many had anticipated that the third-placed South American team, which had been unbeaten for three years and was considered one of the favorites to win the competition, would easily defeat its opponent, who was rated 48 spots lower in the world rankings.
Messi, one of the best players in history, was the subject of all pre-game discussion because he is participating in what is probably his final World Cup. The captain of Argentina gave his team an early advantage with a penalty kick, but two goals in the second half from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari changed the course of the match.
As they celebrated their surprising victory, the thousands of Saudi fans inside the Lusail Stadium couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
For most of the game, a comeback like this didn’t seem even remotely imaginable. After taking the lead, Argentina dominated the game, but whatever Saudi manager Hervé Renard said to his team at halftime proved effective. His team came out with renewed confidence and competed head-to-head with Argentina’s elite squad.
Saudi Arabia Making History
Al Dawsari’s spectacular long-range goal and following acrobatic celebration will go down in history as one of the most memorable World Cup moments ever and, for spectators, a moment they will always remember.
As full-time drew closer, fans cheered every tackle and save as if they were goals. When the game did end, Saudi Arabia fans erupted in hysteria.
Both teams of players collapsed to their knees out of tiredness and shock. Messi, who so many people had come to see play, appeared upset as he left. As Messi walked the cheers of Saudi Arabia’s fans was controlling the stadium.
According to sports data company Gracenote, a Nielsen affiliate, the outcome on Tuesday was the biggest upset in the competition’s history.
They stated that Saudi Arabia’s chance of winning today was calculated at 8.7% so takes over at number one, according to Gracenote. The most shocking World Cup triumph ever, according to Gracenote was USA’s victory against England in 1950 with a 9.5% chance of victory for the US squad.
While Saudi Arabia’s victory was historically significant, Argentina was humiliated by their capitulation on the largest platform.
In sharp contrast to the Argentine team, who walked with their heads down into the team bus, Saudi players grinned and chatted with media as they exited the stadium. One of the few was Messi, who spoke with reporters and even paused for pictures.
For Saudi supporters who think fate plays a role in everything, there was more good news.
The last three teams to defeat Argentina in a World Cup either went on to win the event—Germany in 2014 and France in 2018—or made it all the way to the championship game—Croatia in 2018.
Yazid Aldakheel, a fan, told CNN that this is among the strangest games he has ever witnessed. It’s like a dream to defeat Argentina, one of the top teams in the world. I’m quite happy with how my team is doing.
Playing in the World Cup is great, but defeating Argentina is on another level entirely.
Argentina will play Mexico on Saturday.
Written by Gabriel Salgado
CNN: Saudi Arabia stuns Lionel Messi’s Argentina in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history
ESPN: World Cup’s biggest shocks: Argentina’s loss to Saudi Arabia among most stunning upsets ever
CBS: Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia score: World Cup stunner as Lionel Messi and team go down in massive Group C upset
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Jernej Furman‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Кирилл Венедиктов, Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License