Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the World Cup‘s biggest defeats with a thrilling comeback victory over two-time champions Argentina in Group C’s opening match in Lusail.
With Lionel Messi’s first-half penalty spot goal and Argentina’s subsequent three goals disallowed for offside, Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st in the world, could have been eliminated early.
However, Saudi Arabia turned the game around in a dramatic 10-minute stretch after the break, with Saleh Al-Shehri leveling it with a poor effort and Salem Al Dawsari giving them the lead to cause chaos among the fans.
After displaying ruthlessness on one end, the Green Falcons demonstrated toughness on the other, holding off an outstanding Argentina front line to win their fourth World Cup and open up the group.
Argentina, led by Lionel Scaloni, entered the competition as one of the favorites after going 36 games without losing, including a Copa America title in 2021.
They must now do everything possible to keep their chances of winning their first World Cup since 1986 alive and to give Messi a deserving cap in what will almost certainly be his final World Cup. On Saturday, they face Mexico, while Saudi Arabia faces Poland.