In an exciting Group C match in Lusail, Saudi Arabia came back from being down a goal to stun the defending champion, Argentina.
After Lionel Messi’s penalty put Argentina ahead in the first half, the Three Lions had three goals disallowed for offside, and the 51st-ranked Saudi Arabia looked like it would be out of the match by halftime.
How Argentina Loses to Saudi Arabia at World Cup 2022
In a stunning 10 minutes after halftime, the Green Falcons turned the game around, with Saleh Al Shehri tying the game with a low effort and Salem Al Dawsari firing them ahead to cause chaos in the stands.
Having displayed their ruthlessness on the offensive end, they showed their ruggedness on the defensive end by keeping a stellar Argentina front line at bay to win their fourth World Cup game and open up the group stage.
Argentina, led by Lionel Scaloni, came in as one of the favorites after winning the Copa America in 2021 and going unbeaten for 36 games.
Now, they must do everything in their power to keep their dreams of a first world championship since 1986 alive and give Messi a fitting sendoff to what is likely his final World Cup.
On the same day that Saudi Arabia plays Poland, they’ll be taking on Mexico.
It was one of the biggest surprises of the World Cup.
What an unexpected turn of events!
Many experts predicted that Argentina would win it all in Qatar thanks to their all-star team’s formidable defense and merciless offense.
They were the definition of chaos at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They fired their coaches before the tournament even started and switched up their starting lineups in the middle of the tournament.
However, things began to improve significantly under Scaloni’s leadership. They have a strong defense and a potent offense, having allowed only one goal in their previous five games leading up to the World Cup while scoring 16 of their own. Their last loss came in the 2019 Copa America final against Brazil.
A spectacular and humbling ending has ended that run.
Many teams doubted Saudi Arabia‘s chances of making a significant impact at the tournament. Of the 32 participating countries, only Ghana fared worse. They’d previously won three times, but none of those victories compared to this one.
At the final whistle, the players fell to the ground, prayed, hugged, and yelled at the heavens while the bench ran onto the field to join them, dodging the sad Argentines.
For the first half especially, luck played a role, as evidenced by Messi’s penalty (awarded after Leandro Paredes was tripped to the ground), which was the first sign of things to come. It could have been 4-0 at halftime if Messi or Lautaro Martinez had better timed their attacking runs.
After staying in the game, Saudi Arabia made the most of the opportunity.
Both goals, one by Al-Shehri in the lower corner and one by Salem Al-Dawsari in the upper, were clinically executed and dealt Argentina a knockout blow.
In an increasingly desperate attempt to get back in, they charged Saudi Arabia, but every time, a man in green extended a limb to tackle or threw his body in to block.
Mohammed Al Owais, the keeper, caught flying balls and doves to block shots. Abdulelah Al-Amri stepped up in his absence to clear a potential goal-scoring opportunity.
Almost 14 minutes of extra time were played, with most of it happening in the Saudi Arabian half. Fans chanted both happy and sad things during this time.
Herve Renard’s team went into a state of euphoria after the final whistle confirmed their unimaginable victory. To date, Cameroon is the only non-European team to defeat Argentina at the World Cup.
The fact that Argentina made it all the way to the championship game 42 years after their initial loss is something to hold on to. It’s usually preferable to lose the first game of a group so that you have time to regroup before the rest of the games.
But now they’ve been dealt arguably the biggest shock in World Cup history, right up there with England’s loss to the USA in 1950 and West Germany’s loss to Algeria in 1982.
|Biggest World Cup shocks according to an analysis by Nielsen Gracenote|
|Result||Year||Chance of victory for the winning team|
|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%|
The last three teams to defeat Argentina at the World Cup—Germany in 2014 and France in 2018—either went on to win the tournament or made it to the final (Croatia in 2018).
They have a great chance now to match their performance from 1994 and advance to the round of 16.