Argentina going to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as one of the clear favourites to win it all, with famous sports gaming series provider EA Sports has already predicted La Albiceleste to bag its third World Cup trophy in its simulation mode and the Lionel Messi-led Argentina was on an impressive 36-game undefeated run. La Albiceleste is placed in Group C with Saudi Arabia (51st in FIFA Ranking), Mexico (13th in FIFA Ranking) and Poland (26th in FIFA Ranking) and was tipped by many to come out as the group winner.
On the other hand, Argentina did not have the greatest start they hoped for as they succumbed to a 1-2 comeback defeat by their Arabian opponent Saudi Arabia, marking it the biggest upset so far in this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
La Albiceleste Took an Early Lead
La Albiceleste did not take long to make its presence felt after their captain and all-time top scorer, Paris Saint-Germain’s forward Lionel Messi scored from the spot in the 10th minute of the game. Argentina thought they had buried the game in the first half, only to have multiple efforts that ended in the goal to be disallowed for offside.
The Al-Suqour Al-Khodhur (The Green Falcons) looked like a different team in the second 45 minutes, scoring two goals in five minutes, namely a left-foot strike from forward Saleh Al-Shehri and a right-foot wondergoal by winger Salem Al-Dawsari. Saudi Arabia managed only two shots on target but they capitalised on their chances and produced arguably the largest upset ever in the history of the World Cup.
15 Shots and 70% Possession by Argentina
Argentina tried to rally back, but their pressure did not breed any more goals despite having five times more shots and two times more passes than the Green Falcons and 70% possession in the game. The loss means La Albiceleste missed out on a chance to equal the defending 2020 UEFA Euro champion’s Italy’s world record of 37-game unbeaten streak in all competitions; Their last loss came against their arch-rival Brazil, which was a 2-0 loss in the semifinal of the 2019 Copa América.
Saudi Arabia Declares Holiday After Shocking Win
After securing the sensational comeback against World No. 3 Argentina, Saudi Arabia’s 86-year-old King Salman has declared the next day (Wednesday) as a public holiday for everyone in both the public and private sectors as well as students. The tweet on the Al-Ekhbariya channel read, “Orders that tomorrow, Wednesday, be a holiday for all employees in the public and private sectors, as well as male and female students at all educational levels.”
With two games remaining in Group C, Argentina would need to perform well in order to progress to the next round, their consolation prize is the goalless draw played between Mexico and Poland in another Group C fixture.
(Photo Credits: Reuters)