Qatar 2022: Jubilation as Saudi Arabia stun Argentina

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Saudi Arabia have started their Qatar 2022 campaign on a bold and brilliant note after pulling off one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history as they came from a goal down to stun two-time winners Argentina in a fantastic Group C opener in Lusail.

Aside Lionel Messi’s opening goal from the penalty spot for the Argentines, they further scored three goals which were ruled out for offside.

The 51st-ranked Saudi Arabia flipped the game on its head in a stunning 10-minute period after half-time, Saleh Al Shehri levelling with a low effort, followed by Salem Al Dawsari firing them ahead to spark pandemonium in the stands.

Having gotten their lead, they demonstrated a ruggedness by holding a stellar Argentina front line at bay to secure only their fourth World Cup win and throw the group wide open.

The defeat ended Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina 36-game unbeaten run that included winning the 2021 Copa America.

Argentina need to double their efforts to keep the hope of a first global triumph alive since 1986 and to give Messi a fitting ending to what is very likely his World Cup swansong.

On the other hand, the last three teams to beat Argentina at the World Cup have gone on to win the competition (Germany in 2014, France in 2018) or reached the final (Croatia in 2018), raising the expectations of the Green Falcons.

 

Argentina face Mexico on Saturday, while Saudi Arabia take on Poland.

Meanwhile, the Saudi government has declared a holiday to mark the feat.

 

naija com newspaper