Argentina 1 – 2 Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia produced one of many best upsets in World Cup historical past as Salem Al-Dawsari’s gorgeous solo effort secured a 2-1 victory over Argentina in Group C on the Lusail Iconic Stadium.

Time stood nonetheless as Al-Dawsari plucked the ball out from the sky and turned inside two Argentina defenders earlier than curling his end past the attain of Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, producing one of many largest moments of any World Cup finals.

Lionel Messi had given one of many pre-match favourites the lead from the penalty spot after a contentious VAR resolution (10) however Saleh Al-Shehri levelled simply three minutes into the second interval to arrange an almighty upset.

The outcome ended Argentina’s 36-sport unbeaten run, stretching again to defeat in opposition to Brazil three years in the past however this was the best day in Saudi Arabian soccer historical past.

“This hurts a lot. We were dreaming of starting the World Cup with a win,” mentioned Messi’s strike accomplice Lautaro Martinez. “But it is occurred and now we’ve to coach and suppose ahead.

“We lost this game because of our own mistakes, most of all in the second half. There are details that make a difference and we need to correct our mistakes.”

When Argentina final misplaced their opening World Cup group sport in 1990 – in opposition to Cameroon – they went on to achieve the ultimate the place they misplaced to Germany, however that can be of little comfort to the South Americans proper now following defeat to the nation ranked 51st in world soccer.

Al-Shehri made it 1-1 on the Lusail Iconic Stadium

Player rankings

Argentina: Martinez (6), Tagliafico (5), Romero (4), Otamendi (5), Molina (5), Paredes (5), De Paul (6), Messi (6), Di Maria (5), Gomez (5), Lautaro Martinez (6).

Subs: Acuna (6), Alvarez (5), Lisandro Martinez (6), Fernandez (5).

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

Subs: Al-Ghanam (6), Al-Amri (n/a), Asiri (n/a), Abdulrahim (6), Al-Burayk (n/a).

Player of the match: Salem Al-Dawsari.

How Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina

Saleh Al-Shehri sparked a stunning turnaround
Saleh Al-Shehri sparked a surprising turnaround

Big moments within the sport…

  • 10 min: Saud Abdulhamid is penalised for pulling Leandro Paredes’ shirt contained in the field. Lionel Messi dispatches his penalty.
  • 22 min: Messi has the ball within the web, however the offside flag goes up instantly to chop quick Argentina celebrations.
  • 27 min: Martinez is slipped clear by way of on aim and his produces a beautiful dink to attain however the strike is disallowed by VAR for offside.
  • 35 min: Argentina and Martinez have the ball within the web once more, however the flag as soon as once more goes up for offside in opposition to the Inter ahead.
  • 48 min: Saleh Al-Shehri finds a yard of house on Cristian Romero to flash a low shot into the underside nook.
  • 53 min: Salem Al-Dawsari scores a surprising solo aim to finish the comeback.

Saudi Arabia did not have a single shot within the first half and have historical past on the subject of a lowly strike price in entrance of aim. Since 1966, of the ten cases of a crew failing to try a shot within the first half of a match, Saudi have achieved that undesirable clean on three events – making what occurred in opposition to Argentina all of the extra unlikely.

Midfielder Abdulelah Al-Malki mentioned the Saudis have been fired up like by no means earlier than by their coach Herve Renard – who was sacked by Cambridge United in 2004.

“Renard made us cry with the motivation before the match and stoked us up during half-time,” he mentioned, affectionately calling the Frenchman “crazy”.

Team information

  • Lionel Messi shrugged off some fatigue niggles to guide the road on Tuesday within the Group C opener in opposition to Saudi Arabia the place he begins his final quest for an elusive World Cup trophy.
  • With Paulo Dybala nonetheless not recovered from damage, Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria have been up entrance with Messi in a star-studded crew who’re one of many favourites to win in Qatar.
  • Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard saved captain and midfielder Salman Al-Faraj within the crew regardless of a latest shoulder damage. He has been a cornerstone of Al Hilal’s dominance of Asian membership soccer in recent times.

The whole sport was performed in a unprecedented environment on the Lusail Stadium, with Argentina’s historically large and raucous following matched by the hundreds of Saudis who had come over the border to cheer on their crew.

Referee Slavko Vincic awarded Argentina a penalty upon VAR evaluate after 10 minutes when Leandro Paredes had his shirt pulled by Saud Abdulhamid contained in the field.

Messi made no mistake, changing into the fifth participant to attain at 4 totally different World Cup tournaments after Pelé, Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi scored in the opening goal from the spot
Messi scored within the opening aim from the spot

Three occasions Argentina have been then denied by the offside flag within the first half with Messi thwarted on one event earlier than Lautaro Martinez twice discovered the web solely to be dominated out by VAR.

The sport turned on its head inside three minutes of the restart, nevertheless, with Al-Shehri capitalising on hesitancy from Cristian Romero to search out the underside nook.

If the Saudis contained in the stadium seemed on speechless with the remainder of the world, that they had barely regained their breath when Al-Dawsari introduced the ball down contained in the Argentina field, danced inside Nahuel Molina and Angel Di Maria and curled a proper-foot shot excessive into the far nook to seal a triumph in opposition to all the percentages.

Argentina's Lautaro Martinez scores a goal before it is ruled out after a VAR check
Argentina’s Lautaro Martinez scores a aim earlier than it’s dominated out after a VAR verify

“Our team fulfils our dreams!” and “Where is Messi? We beat him!”, the inexperienced-clad Saudis chanted again and again within the Lusail Stadium, on their ft and greeting each clearance from their defence with a deafening roar.

Both groups have Mexico and Poland to come back, with Argentina needing a direct response if Messi is to have a practical likelihood of matching Diego Maradona’s immortality in his homeland by bringing dwelling the World Cup.


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South American soccer knowledgeable Tim Vickery says that Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina wasn’t a ‘fluke’ and the higher crew received.

The outcome broke Argentina’s superb 36-match undefeated run and stopped them from matching the earlier worldwide document of 37 video games unbeaten held by Italy.

“It’s a situation that this group of players has never been through, it’s been a while since we suffered such a tough blow, we didn’t expect to start like this,” Messi instructed Argentinian media.

“In five minutes of mistakes that we made, we went 2-1 down and then it was really tough and we lost organisation and started punting the ball,” he mentioned in feedback broadcast by Todo Noticias.

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Kaveh Solhekol says Saudi Arabia’s win in opposition to Argentina needs to be thought of as one of many largest upsets in World Cup historical past.

“We knew they were a team who would play if we let them. They did not surprise us, we knew they could do that.”

“Obviously we have to win or win now. It’s up to us to fix what we did wrong and get back to the basics of who we are. We’re OK, obviously hurt by the result, very bitter. But people must trust that this team will not let them down and we are going to go for it in the next two games. We’ve played games of this nature before and we’re going to perform well.

“Now’s the time to be extra united than ever, to point out how really robust we’re.”

World Cup’s largest shocks

  • June 1950: USA 1-0 England
  • July 1966: North Korea 1-0 Italy
  • June 1978 Scotland 3-2 Netherlands
  • June 1990: Argentina 0-1 Cameroon
  • June 1994: Republic of Ireland 1-0 Italy
  • May 2002: France 0-1 Senegal
  • June 2002: Italy 1-2 South Korea
  • June 2010: Spain 0-1 Switzerland
  • November 2022: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

Should Argentina have been awarded a penalty?

Argentina looked to be in total control at half time
Argentina in complete management at half time

Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness on ITV: “He doesn’t know where the ball is. He’s only interested in an Argentina player. He doesn’t know when it’s been kicked and I think that is a penalty for me.

“He’s not trying on the ball, the directive from the referees is that is a penalty.”

Sky Sports’ Roy Keane on ITV: “No, no, no, all it will do is encourage diving. He (Otamendi) is dragging him (Abdulhamid) down.”

Souness: “Roy, you are not listening. It’s a directive from the referees. This is just not about opinions, that is about truth, the man wasn’t trying on the ball.

Keane: “I’m here to give my opinion: that’s not a penalty.”

Souness: “This is not about our opinions, this is about the laws of the game.”

Keane: “I’m here to give my opinion: that’s not a penalty.”

Souness: “I’ve heard you say it 10 times, let someone else speak. You’ll learn a lot more if you listen. He’s not looking at the ball, the directive from the referees is that’s a penalty. We have to accept it.”

‘Fearless Green Falcons tear Group C extensive open’

Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates after scoring Saudi Arabia's equaliser
Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates his effectively-taken aim

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:

“Lionel Messi looked shell-shocked at the final whistle. This may not yet be a defining defeat for Argentina’s World Cup hopes but it was a humbling story to send shockwaves around the world.

“The little magician did not know the place to show. Surrounded at one level in stoppage time deep in Saudi Arabia’s penalty field, Messi ran out of concepts.

“One free-kick had already sailed harmlessly over the bar. Quite where the second half came from is anyone’s guess. Argentina looked in total control and appeared unaffected by the three disallowed goals during a one-sided opening period.

Salem Al-Dawsari (left) celebrates after putting Saudi Arabia 2-1 up
Al-Dawsari celebrates placing Saudi Arabia 2-1 up

“No matter, we will score again soon – that was the misplaced sentiment. But the chances dried up. The emboldened Yasser Al-Shahrani alongside the imperious Hassan Al-Tambakti formed a wall as tall as the Jabal Sawda. On one occasion, Al-Tambakti celebrated a sliding tackle on Messi as though he had won the World Cup.

“This was their remaining, however no nation in Group C will now fancy dealing with them within the coming days. After only a second World Cup win in 28 years, head coach Renard can be assured of masterminding extra success in opposition to Poland and Mexico.

“Defensively, this was as close to perfection as you’re likely to see as Lionel Scaloni threw on Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez. It was some forward line by the end – garnishing players from Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Inter Milan – but the nation ranked outside of the world’s top 50 would not be beaten.

“Al-Shahrani was compelled off with a sickening head damage in stoppage time however his heroics had epitomised these fearless Falcons as a collective. The group has effectively and really been ripped extensive open.”

Analysis: Argentina a shadow of themselves

Lionel Messi reacts during the World Cup, Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium
Messi reacts at full-time following defeat

Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness on ITV:

“Argentina never matched them. Historically you’d know they’d not be intimated. They were intimated today. The referee was allowing it to go. Join in the party, join in the physical encounter.

“They acquired rolled over by a really enthusiastic, aggressive, organised Saudi crew, I’m so disenchanted in Argentina within the method they misplaced the sport. “That was a shadow of any Argentina team I’ve seen. They were a shadow today.”

Saudi Arabia's Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates with team-mate Firas Al-Buraikan after scoring
Saudi Arabia inflicted one of many largest upsets

Sky Sports’ Roy Keane on ITV:

“Amazing. One of those when they’re hanging in there, on the ropes. They get a goal back and go on to win the game. But it’s a great reminder to anyone in the game of football, if you think can just turn up and depend on your quality to get you over the line then you’re mistaken.

“Argentina, actually dreadful within the second half. Saudi Arabia, all credit score to them. They stayed within the sport, they competed. [For the second goal] there is no aggression. There’s our bodies there, you have to go and assault the ball. They’ve lacked all composure. Look at Di Maria, my god.

“You’d think Argentina would grow into it. ‘If they want a street fight we’re ready for it’. They weren’t even up for that. They were just depending on their quality and even that wasn’t at it. This desire and fight wasn’t there.

“An enormous setback for them. Huge.”

Argentina lose from winning position – Opta stats

Argentina's Lionel Messi scored the opening goal
Messi scored the opening aim from the spot

  • Saudi Arabia turned the primary non-European crew to beat Argentina on the World Cup since Cameroon in 1990, with Argentina profitable their such 13 video games since then earlier than right this moment. They are the primary Asian crew to beat Argentina in World Cup historical past on the fifth try.
  • The final three groups to beat Argentina on the World Cup have both gone on to win the competitors (Germany in 2014, France in 2018) or reached the ultimate (Croatia in 2018).
  • Argentina have suffered their first defeat in all competitions since July 2019, after they misplaced 2-0 to Brazil, ending a run of 36 unbeaten matches.
  • Argentina’s Lionel Messi turned the fourth participant to seem at 5 totally different World Cup tournaments (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022), together with Antonio Carbajal (Mexico), Lothar Matthäus (Germany) and Rafael Márquez (Mexico).
  • Saudi Arabia did not have a single shot within the first half of this sport; since 1966, three of the ten cases of a crew failing to try a shot within the first half of a sport have come from Saudi Arabia (additionally vs France in 1998 and Germany in 2002).
  • Lionel Messi has scored in 5 consecutive Argentina appearances for simply the second time, together with a six sport run between November 2011 and September 2012.
  • Salem Al Dawsari turned solely the third Saudi Arabian participant to attain greater than as soon as on the World Cup (two objectives) together with Sami Al Jaber (3) and Fuad Amin (2). His two objectives have come in several editions (2018 and 2022), with solely Al Jaber additionally scoring in a couple of match (1994, 1998, 2006).

What the managers mentioned…

Saudi Arabia boss Herve Renard:


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Saudi Arabia head coach, Herve Renard says his crew have made footballing historical past by beating Argentina, however now they need to look ahead to their remaining two group stage video games.

“Congratulations to these fantastic players,” mentioned the Frenchman. “I decided to come to this country three and a half years ago and since this time I’ve had the management, amazing president and the ministry of sport were always behind us.

“Even once we go to our prince two, three weeks in the past he did not put any strain on us.

“This is the way you have to work in football because when you are putting too much pressure it’s not working all the time.

“We ready very effectively and right this moment all the celebrities within the sky have been in the identical line for us.

“But don’t forget Argentina are still a fantastic team. They came here without losing lose any game in 36 and they are South American champions.

“They have superb gamers, however that is soccer. Sometimes issues utterly loopy can occur.

“Have a good celebration during 20 minutes and that’s it. There’s still two games – or more – for us.”

What does the outcome imply?

Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates his equaliser
Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates his equaliser

Argentina got here with the intention of profitable this match and so beating Saudi Arabia all the time seemed like a field that simply wanted to be ticked.

The two-time World Cup champions subsequent face Mexico on Saturday, kick-off 7pm, the place victory is significant if they’re to have any possibilities now of progressing. Argentina want a minimum of a degree to keep away from throwing their hopes of development into severe jeopardy.

Saudi Arabia are again in motion in opposition to Poland earlier that day, kick-off 10am, and a win would all-however seal their development to the knock-out phases, and most definitely as group winners.

The winners of Group C will face the runner-up from Group D, containing France, Denmark, Tunisia and Australia. The runner-up in Group D will face the winners of Group C.

Player of the match – Salem Al Dawsari

Salem Al-Dawsari gives Saudi Arabia a 2-1 lead
Salem Al-Dawsari offers Saudi Arabia a 2-1 lead

Al Dawsari turned solely the third Saudi Arabian participant to attain greater than as soon as on the World Cup (two objectives) together with Sami Al Jaber (3) and Fuad Amin (2).

His two objectives have come in several editions (2018 and 2022), with solely Al Jaber additionally scoring in a couple of match (1994, 1998, 2006).


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