Saudi Arabia nicked one of its biggest shocks in World Cup history on Tuesday, November 22nd, with a 2-1 win over one of the greatest footballers, Lionel Messi’s Argentina, with a scintillating second-half comeback. Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament after Ghana, changed the tide at the start of the second half, attacking Argentina’s defense in front of a frenzied 88,012 crowd.
Saleh Al-Shehri scored a low shot in the 48th minute, while Salem Al-Dawsari scored a hit from the edge of the penalty area in the 53rd minute to leave Messi and Argentina looking astonished in the Group C opener. Despite possession after that, Argentina could not penetrate Saudi Arabia, who were competing in their sixth World Cup but had never previously won an opening game. The entire game was played with an extraordinary spirit at the Lusail Stadium.
Argentina’s traditionally massive and raucous following was matched by the thousands of Saudis who had come over the border to cheer for their team. “Our team fulfills our dreams!” and “Where is Messi? We beat him!” the Saudis chanted over and over in the Lusail Stadium.