Don’t cry for me, Argentina! Saudi Arabia cause one of the biggest upsets in football history with incredible 2-1 victory over Lionel Messi’s star-studded World Cup favourites in Qatar
- Saudi Arabia are ranked 51st in the world – 48 behind their Argentine opposition
- But victory against Lionel Messi’s men rocketed the Gulf state to top of group C
- Argentina had a whopping three goals disallowed in the first half, all for offside
- Messi slotted a soft penalty but Saudis roared back with two quality finishes
- The Saudi defence held off attack after attack throughout 13 mins of added time
- The loss leaves Messi’s dream of finally winning a World Cup all but shattered
Saudi Arabia have defeated Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the opening game of their World Cup campaign in what is one of the greatest sporting upsets in recent memory.
The Gulf state is currently ranked a lowly 51st in the world behind hosts Qatar and came into the tournament with low expectations in a group with Argentina, who were tipped by many to challenge for ultimate glory.
But in a truly stunning turn of events, the underdogs sent the team ranked number three in the world crashing to the bottom of Group C with a stellar 2-1 victory.
In doing so, they snapped Argentina’s 36-match winning streak and all but shredded 35-year-old Messi’s dream of winning the World Cup in what could well be the maestro’s final ever international competition.
The man considered by many to be the world’s greatest ever footballer clinically dispatched a questionable penalty for Argentina in the first half, but Saudi Arabia quickly retorted after the break with a fine finish from Saleh Al-Shehri at the 48-minute mark.
Saudi’s star man Salem Al-Dawsari followed up the equaliser with a rocket into the top corner just minutes later, sending his supporters into raptures as Messi hid his head in his hands.
The dying moments of the game saw the Saudi back line fend off attack after attack, with the allotted eight minutes of added time somehow extended to 13 by the referee.
But the defence held resolute and when the final whistle blew the Saudi contingent in the stadium erupted in wild celebrations, as the Argentine supporters looked on in pure disbelief.
Saudi Arabia now sit triumphant at the top of the group, with Poland and Mexico set to play later today.
Saleh Al-Shehri of Saudi Arabia celebrates scoring his side’s equalising goal
Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al-Dawsari, front, celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022
Lionel Messi of Argentina looks exasperated as his team concedes to Saudi Arabia
Feras Albrikan of Saudi Arabia in action during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar
Saudi fans celebrate wildly in the stands as their team fend off one of the tournament favourites Argentina
Saudi supporters were sent into raptures at the final whistle
A young Argentina supporter reacts at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia
Argentina players show their dejection after the 2-1 loss during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium on November 22, 2022
Argentine fans were seen crying in the stands as their team were defeated by Saudi Arabia
Saleh Alshehri of Saudi Arabia celebrates scoring his goal with team mates as Saudi Arabia went on to beat Argentina in a mammoth upset
Lionel Messi of Argentina looks on in disbelief as Saudi players celebrate their goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian fans celebrate in the stands as despondent Argentine supporters look on
Saudi Arabia fans cheer on as their side defeat Argentina at the World Cup