Argentina lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in one of the biggest World Cup shockers of all time
Argentina began their World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia in a much anticipated fixture. The chance to see Lionel Messi play in Qatar presented the chance for a huge spectacle.
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia First half
Argentina set out in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Messi stationed behind Lautaro Martinez. The Saudis set up in a 4-4-1-1 system, looking to combat the Argentina possession by employing a high press.
After 8 minutes, Rodrigo de Paul was brought down outside the box and Messi swung in a cross but Leandro Paredes was hauled down in the box. The referee went to consult VAR and promptly pointed to the spot. Up stepped Lionel Messi to convert the penalty to give Argentina a 1-0 lead.
Argentina continued to push for a second goal after 20 minutes, Messi was sent running through on goal by Papu Gomez but his finish was adjudged to be offside.
The Saudi Arabia high line was punished again. This time a straight pass from De Paul into the space behind the Saudi defence and Martinez had a simple finish once again, ruled out for offside. The first half ended 1-0 to Argentina with he hosts on the front foot.
Saudi Arabia Second Half comeback
The second half began in excellent fashion for Saudi Arabia. Five minutes after the restart, Argentina were sloppy in possession and midfielder Al-Buraikan released his teammate Al-Shehri who ran into space to finish past Argentina keeper, Emi Martinez.
Five minutes later, Saudi Arabia took the lead in stunning fashion. Salem Aldawsari got a yard of space on the left, before cutting on to his stronger right foot before unleashing a glorious curler that Emi Martinez could only push into the top corner.
Argentina Coach Lionel Scaloni made a raft of changes to try to improve proceedings but an equalizer continued to elude Argentina. but Lispent the rest of the second half pushing for an equalizer but a goal continued to elude them. Messi sent a free kick wide and there were half chances for Argentina but they remained unable to find a goal.
Deserved victory for Saudi Arabia
A thoroughly deserved win for Saudi Arabia who defended brilliantly throughout. They implemented a high line to catch the Argentines offside on numerous occasions. Saudi coach Herve Renard deserves massive credit for implementing a brilliant tactical plan and delivering the biggest win for Saudi Araba