FIFA World Cup Upset: Saudi Arabia Beats Argentina
Saudi Arabia’s 2-1 victory over Argentina has sent shockwaves around world football and is already being hailed by many as the greatest upset in the history of the World Cup.
Pre-tournament favourites Argentina started on a promising note with the legendary star Lionel Messi scoring his country’s first goal of the FIFA World Cup. Messi, sporting jersey number 10, scored in the 10th minute. But that perhaps raised false hopes. It was Saudi Arabia that stole the limelight with two goals within five minutes of the second half to upset the applecart of Argentina.
Argentina did score again through Martinez by picking the ball from in front of Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais, it was disallowed by VAR. Martinez was declared offside.
It was in the second half that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia scored twice – first through Saleh Ashehri in the 48th minute followed by a match-winning goal in the 52nd minute by Saleh Aldawsari.
A goal-line save by Alambi with a header after Alowais was beaten in the last minute of the regulation period frustrated the South Americans’ equalizer bid. In fact, the Arabs owe their surprise win over Argentina to their goalkeeper Alowais who had an outstanding game under the bar, executing some brilliant saves. Lionel Messi, who had a couple of attempts at the goal after he put his team ahead in the 10th minute found a tough match in Alowais.
Argentina’s 18th World Cup was their first since Diego Maradona died almost exactly two years ago. “It’s strange not to see him in the stand, not to see people going crazy when he appears,” said Messi, Maradona’s successor in the No 10 shirt. “He loved the national team. He always was and always will be with us from somewhere.” He was everywhere at the vast Lusail Stadium. The No 10, with either Diego or Messi printed above, dominated the crowds that finally brought a party to the World Cup in the buildup to Argentina’s opening game.
Maradona’s face filled many of the flags and banners draped inside the 88,966-capacity arena that will stage the final on 18 December. It is Messi’s burning desire, and all of Argentina’s, that he will be there for one last shot at embellishing his historic career with crowning glory. The ambition is already in jeopardy after an increasingly desperate display.