Saudi Arabia produced a stunning comeback to beat Argentina 2-1 and recorded one of the biggest upsets in the history of world soccer and the World Cup. Ranked third in the world, the South American champions entered the match unbeaten in 36 games, only for ranked 51 Green Falcons to put an end to it onset of the biggest football stage and in front of over 88,000 in attendance at the Lusail Stadium.
Lionel Scaloni’s men were among the favorites to win the tournament, keeping an unbeaten run for three years since the 2019 Copa America final loss to Brazil, which they have avenged after winning the competition two years later. Argentina talisman and captain Lionel Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot, followed by a record of three more goals that were ruled out for offside.
In the early minutes after the break, 29-year-old Saleh Al-Shehri scored Saudi Arabia’s equalizer. The Al-Hilal FC playmaker netted his 11th goal in his international career, which is also the vital score for his side in the 48th minute. Few minutes before the final whistle, Saudi forward Salem Al-Dawsari hit a powerful shot into the top corner past goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez.
Argentina tried to make a miracle in the dying moments of the game but failed miserably as Herve Renard’s entire team stormed into the pitch in celebration. This loss will go down as one of the biggest shocks in the modern history of the World Cup since England’s loss to the United States in 1950 and Algeria defeating West Germany in 1982. Read more for football full match results.
Messi, who announced his retirement in international football after the tournament, found himself in shock following the loss. They will need to beat Mexico and Poland in the next coming days to pull off a comeback they did in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where they lost their opening game to Cameroon 1-0 but eventually went on to reach the final of their tournament.
Elsewhere, Mexico and Poland produced a goalless finish in their opener, with Polish talisman Robert Lewandowski failing to convert a penalty. Earlier, Denmark and Tunisia also settled for a goalless opener as Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen made his return to major international football following his life-threatening collapse during the opening game of his side in the Euro 2020.
Meanwhile, reigning champions France came from behind to open their title defense with a win against Australia 4-1 in Group D. Without Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema in the squad, Didier Deschamps’ side managed to take all three points to fuel their campaign. Australia’s Craig Goodwin scored the lead nine minutes into the pitch to give Le Bleus an early scare.
Adrien Rabio scored France’s equalizer before Olivier Giroud netted one of his two goals, making him the oldest ever player to represent and score for France at the World Cup. Kylian Mbappe scored after 68 minutes and assisted Giroud’s second three minutes later. “It’s very good for our self-confidence to have turned things around. We’ll have to learn from these little mistakes however,” the 36-year-old said, who is now tied with Thierry Henry on a record 51 goals for France.
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