Lionel Messi’s Argentina suffered a 1-2 defeat against Saudi Arabia in their first FIFA World Cup 2022 match in Doha on Tuesday. It is one of the biggest upsets in recent World Cup history. Messi’s men dominated the first half of the match but the Asian nation took precautions to come away with one of the biggest World Cup victories in recent years.
On his fifth and final quest for the only major trophy to elude him, the 35-year-old Messi scored a 10th-minute penalty in an impressive first-half performance where he and Lautaro Martinez had three goals disallowed for offside.
A few minutes into the second half, Saudi Arabia scored a superb equalizer through Saleh Al Shehri and then doubled their team’s lead with a superb solo goal by Salem Al Dawsari. Despite considerable possession thereafter, Argentina were unable to overcome Saudi Arabia, who were competing in their sixth World Cup but had never won an opening game before.
The entire game was played in an extraordinary atmosphere at the Lucel Stadium, with Argentina’s traditionally massive and raucous following followed by thousands of Saudis who came to the border to cheer on their team.
The result broke Argentina’s amazing 36-match unbeaten run and prevented them from equaling the previous international record of 37 games unbeaten held by Italy.
Football lovers were surprised by this victory. Twitter users mocked the Argentina team and called it the worst start for Lionel Messi and his team.
The two goals in a five-minute spell also ended La Albiceleste’s 36-game unbeaten run dating back to 2019 when they lost to Brazil at the Copa America. The Asian nation, with a risky high defensive line, got lucky in the first half when Argentina found the ball three times in the net, but was denied by an offside call.
Messi started Argentina’s 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign by sending the Saudi Arabian goalkeeper the wrong way with a simple kick from the penalty spot. The ace footballer became the first player to score for Argentina in four World Cup appearances, surpassing the records held by Gabriel Batistuta (1994, 1998 and 2002) and Diego Maradona (1982, 1986 and 1994). Interestingly, Messi is the fifth player to score in four different World Cup events. But alas, the record didn’t help the team. Twitter users shared their funny reactions.
It was the first time since 1958 against Germany that Argentina had lost a World Cup match after scoring the first goal, and the first time since 1930 that they had lost a World Cup match when leading at half-time.
Lionel Scaloni’s side will face Mexico on November 26 where they will desperately need a win to have any chance of getting out of Group C.