SAUDIA ARABIA SHOCKED THE WORLD IN FIFA WORLD CUP 2020
Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st in the world, might have been eliminated early on after Lionel Messi scored the game’s first goal from the penalty spot and Argentina had three goals disallowed for offside.
However, the Green Falcons completely turned the game around in a dramatic 10-minute span following halftime. Saleh Al Shehri tied the game with a low effort, and Salem Al Dawsari gave them the lead, causing chaos in the fans.
After displaying their ruthlessness on one end, they showed their toughness on the other, holding a brilliant Argentina front line at bay to clinch just their fourth World Cup victory and widen the group.
Argentina, led by Lionel Scaloni, entered the competition as one of the favourites after going 36 games without losing, which included winning the 2021 Copa America.
They must now exert every effort to retain their prospects of winning a major tournament for the first time since 1986 and giving Messi a worthy start in what would likely be his final World Cup.
On Saturday, they play Mexico, and Saudi Arabia plays Poland.
One of the biggest surprises of the World Cup
Argentina was one of the top teams travelling to Qatar and was widely predicted to win the tournament thanks to their all-star lineup and formidable defence.
They were chaos personified in Russia in 2018 as they replaced coaches before the competition and started XIs during it before being eliminated in the final 16.
However, under Scaloni, they seriously got their act together. They don’t give up many goals and score a lot; in the five games leading up to the World Cup, they kept five clean sheets and scored 16 goals. They haven’t experienced a loss since falling to Brazil in the 2019 Copa America final.
That run is now over, and it was spectacular and humble.
Luck played a major role, particularly in the first half when Messi’s penalty, which was given after Leandro Paredes was pushed to the ground, put the game out of reach. Messi or Lautaro Martinez could have made it 4-0 at the half had they timed their offensive runs better.
Saudi Arabia seized the opportunity in a spectacular way after maintaining their competitiveness.
Salem Al Dawsari found the top corner of Emi Martinez’s net, while Al-Shehri found the bottom. Both of these ruthless goals dealt a crushing blow to Argentina and knocked them to the ground.
In an increasingly desperate attempt to gain entry again, they came towards Saudi Arabia and threatened, but each time, a man in green extended out a hand to tackle or flung a body in to block.
Amazing Defense By The Goalkeeper
Mohammed Al Owais, the goalkeeper, grabbed balls out of the air and blocked shots that were directed at him. Abdulelah Al Amri was present to block a goal-bound shot while he wasn’t.
Nearly 14 minutes were played, the majority of them in the Saudi Arabian side, during the eight extra minutes that were added at the finish. The fans yelled in joy and agony during this time.
Herve Renard’s side fell into a paroxysm when the last whistle confirmed the unbelievable. Since Cameroon in 1990, they are the first non-European team to defeat Argentina in a World Cup match.
If there is anything Argentina can hold onto, it’s the fact that they made it all the way to the final after their opening-round loss 32 years ago. It is frequently preferable to lose the group games first, giving yourself the games to catch up.
However, they are currently possibly the subjects of the biggest upset in World Cup history, ranking right up there with West Germany’s loss to Algeria in 1982 and England’s defeat by the United States in 1950.
Few will think that, but they now stand a great chance of matching their performance from 1994 by making it to the round of 16.