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-tournament 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 consequence ended Argentina’s 36-game 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.

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

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

Participant 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, 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).

Participant 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

Huge 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 brief Argentina celebrations.
  • 27 min: Martinez is slipped clear by means of on objective 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 area on Cristian Romero to flash a low shot into the underside nook.
  • 53 min: Salem Al-Dawsari scores a surprising solo objective to finish the comeback.

Saudi Arabia had didn’t have a single shot within the first half; since 1966, three of the ten situations of a group failing to aim a shot within the first half of a sport have now come from them – making what occurred subsequent all of the extra unlikely.

All the sport was performed in a unprecedented ambiance on the Lusail Stadium, with Argentina’s historically huge and raucous following matched by the 1000’s of Saudis who had come over the border to cheer on their group.

Workforce information

  • Lionel Messi shrugged off some fatigue niggles to steer 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 had been up entrance with Messi in a star-studded group who’re one of many favourites to win in Qatar.
  • Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard stored captain and midfielder Salman Al-Faraj within the group regardless of a current shoulder damage. He has been a cornerstone of Al Hilal’s dominance of Asian membership soccer lately.

Referee Slavko Vincic awarded Argentina a penalty upon VAR evaluation inside 10 minutes after 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 completely 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 objective from the spot

Thrice Argentina had 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, nonetheless, 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, however they’d 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 right-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 objective earlier than it’s dominated out after a VAR test

“Our group fulfils our goals!” and “The place is Messi? We beat him!”, the green-clad Saudis chanted again and again within the Lusail Stadium, on their toes and greeting each clearance from their defence with a deafening roar.

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

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

World Cup’s largest shocks

  • June 1950: USA 1-0 England
  • June 1990: Argentina 0-1 Cameroon
  • Could 2002: France 0-1 Senegal
  • June 2010: Spain 0-1 Switzerland

Ought to Argentina have been awarded a penalty?

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

Sky Sports activities’ Graeme Souness on ITV: “He would not know the place the ball is. He is solely considering an Argentina participant. He would not know when it has been kicked and I believe that may be a penalty for me.

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

Sky Sports activities’ 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 is a directive from the referees. This isn’t about opinions, that is about reality, the man wasn’t wanting on the ball.

Keane: “I am right here to provide my opinion: that is not a penalty.”

Souness: “This isn’t about our opinions, that is in regards to the legal guidelines of the sport.”

Keane: “I am right here to provide my opinion: that is not a penalty.”

Souness: “I’ve heard you say it 10 occasions, let another person communicate. You will be taught much more for those who hear. He is not wanting on the ball, the directive from the referees is that is a penalty. We now have to simply accept it.”

‘Fearless Inexperienced Falcons tear Group C vast open’

Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates after scoring Saudi Arabia's equaliser
Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates his well-taken objective

Sky Sports activities’ Ben Grounds:

“Lionel Messi seemed shell-shocked on the closing whistle. 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. Fairly the place the second got here is anybody’s guess. Argentina seemed in complete management and appeared unaffected by the three objectives being disallowed throughout a one-sided opening interval.

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

“Regardless of, we’ll rating once more quickly. However the probabilities dried up. The emboldened Yasser Al-Shahrani alongside the imperious Hassan Al-Tambakti shaped a wall as tall because the Jabal Sawda.

“Defensively, this was as near perfection as you are more likely to see as Lionel Scaloni threw on Manchester Metropolis’s Julian Alvarez. It was some ahead line by the top, however the nation ranked outdoors of the world’s high 50 wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

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

Evaluation: 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 activities’ Graeme Souness on ITV:

“Argentina by no means matched them. Traditionally you’d know they’d not be intimated. They had been intimated at the moment. The referee was permitting it to go. Be a part of within the get together, be a part of within the bodily encounter.

“They obtained rolled over by a really enthusiastic, aggressive, organised Saudi group, I’m so upset in Argentina within the method they misplaced the sport. “That was a shadow of any Argentina group I’ve seen. They had been a shadow at the moment.”

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 activities’ Roy Keane on ITV:

“Superb. A type of after they’re hanging in there, on the ropes. They get a objective again and go on to win the sport. However it’s a terrific reminder to anybody within the sport of soccer, for those who suppose can simply flip up and rely in your high quality to get you over the road you then’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 not any aggression. There’s our bodies there, you have to go and assault the ball. They’ve lacked all composure. Have a look at Di Maria, my god.

“You’d suppose Argentina would develop into it. ‘If they need a road combat we’re prepared for it’. They weren’t even up for that. They had been simply relying on their high quality and even that wasn’t at it. This want and combat wasn’t there.

“An enormous setback for them. Enormous.”

Argentina lose from profitable place – Opta stats

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

  • Argentina have misplaced a World Cup match after scoring the primary objective for the primary time since 1958 in opposition to Germany, whereas it was the primary time they misplaced after main at half-time because the 1930 closing in opposition to Uruguay.
  • Saudi Arabia turned the primary non-European group to beat Argentina on the World Cup since Cameroon in 1990, with Argentina profitable their such 13 video games since then earlier than at the moment. They’re the primary Asian group 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).
  • 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.

What does the consequence 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 at all times seemed like a field that simply wanted to be ticked.

The 2-time World Cup champions subsequent face Mexico on Saturday, kick-off 7pm, the place victory is significant if they’re to have any probabilities now of progressing. Argentina want not less than some extent 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-but seal their development to the knock-out phases, and most probably 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.

Participant 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 numerous editions (2018 and 2022), with solely Al Jaber additionally scoring in a couple of match (1994, 1998, 2006).

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