Saudi Arabia pulled off one of biggest upsets in World Cup history to beat Lionel Messi's Argentina
- Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, beating Argentina on Tuesday.
- Argentina had three goals ruled inadmissible during the match for being offside.
Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history when it beat Argentina 2-1 in Group C on Tuesday, dampening Lionel Messi's hopes of finally winning the tournament at the fourth attempt.
Argentina had a total of three goals disallowed in the game under the offside rule, cementing a humiliating defeat to the Saudi underdog team.
The first disallowed goal was within five minutes of the game opening.
Messi, Argentina's record goalscorer, then managed to score a penalty in the 10th minute, establishing a lead which few expected to be overturned.
But Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament, equalized through striker Saleh Alshehri after Argentina had two more goals ruled out for offside.
Moments after Alshehri's goal, Salem Aldawsari then added a stunning second for the Saudis, smashing the ball into the top corner from the edge of the Argentina box.
The strike proved to the winner, sealing a historic win for Saudi Arabia and a devastating loss for Argentina.
Heading into the World Cup, Argentina had not lost in 35 games – a streak that dates back in July 2019 and saw it win the Copa America title in 2021.
Given its fine run, the South American team was being touted as one of the favorites to win the tournament.
Star player Messi has also been in superb form for club side Paris Saint-Germain this season, scoring 12 and assisting 14 in just 19 matches – further intensifying belief that this could finally be his and Argentina's year.
Messi is yet to lift World Cup for Argentina in three attempts, coming closest in 2014 when his side lost to Germany in the final.
But while things looked to have gotten off to a perfect start against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, it was the team from the Middle East which was ultimately the better side – out-running and out-fighting Lionel Scaloni's lackluster Argentina.
Argentine newspaper Olé described the result as a "nightmare."
"One of those that will leave a mark for a long time," it said. "Because the result, really, is almost the least of it. The lack of reaction, the absence of associated play, the lack of pressure."
Analysts Nielsen's Gracenote called it the biggest upset ever at a World Cup.
Prior to the 2022 World Cup, the most surprising World Cup win ever was USA's victory over England in 1950 with a 9.5% chance of victory the USMNT, according to Gracenote. Saudi Arabia's chance of victory over Argentina was estimated at 8.7%.
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