Published: 23rd November 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Argentina stunned as Saudi Arabia secures historic win at FIFA World Cup. Here's the lowdown
Goals by Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari help secure a historic turnaround win for Saudi Arabia against Argentina; Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot
Following a score of 2-1, Saudi Arabia won yesterday’s (November 22) match in Group C of the FIFA World Cup 2022 against Argentina. This came as a shock to football fans as this was one of the biggest unanticipated wins in the history of the World Cup. The Saudi Arabian footballer Salem Al Dawsari secured a stunning winning goal that led to their win against Argentina. This victory put a halt to Argentina's unbeaten 36-match victory streak.
In today's edition of #WhatTheFAQ, we decode all the highs and lows of the match.
What are some highlights of the match?
Argentina took the lead in the first half of the match with a goal scored by Argentinian Captain Lionel Messi during the penalty. The team with the blue and white jersey scored a goal three more times, one by Messi and two by Lautaro Martinez, in the first half of the match but these were ruled offside. Although Argentina was off to a good start with the penalty shot, during the second half of the match, Saudi Arabia took the lead and won leaving Argentina and Messi shell-shocked.
What did Saudi Arabia get right?
Having been ranked the second-lowest team in the tournament after Ghana, this is the sixth World Cup tournament for the winning team. The team has never won an opening game in the tournament, which is also why this was one of the biggest shocks in Word Cup history. A goal at the 48-minute mark by Saleh Al-Shehri and a strike at the edge of the penalty area in the 53rd minute by Salem Al Dawsari, led to the unexpected victory of the team. The players in the green jersey played a high defensive line, they took advantage of the three goals by the opponent team that was ruled as offside.
Messi’s response after the match, is this really his last tournament?
After being deeply disappointed following the defeat, the captain of Argentina said, “The truth? Dead. It’s a very hard blow because we did not expect to start in this way.” Messi also stated that the South American team will bounce back from this defeat. Messi added that his team rushed the play and they are going to be more united than ever before. This was the first defeat of the team in three years after they lost in Brazil in 2019, during the Copa América semi-finals.
This tournament is likely to be the last for Messi, the first Argentina player to score in four FIFA World Cups and although he holds several records, he has never won the international game's biggest trophy. The player was firm about this being his last World Cup, "Surely this is my last World Cup," he said previously, as stated by many media reports.
Why was a Saudi Arabian footballer rushed to the hospital?
During the match against Argentina, Yasser Al Sahrani, the defender of the winning team, suffered a fractured jaw and broke his left facial bones. Toward the end of the second half of the game, Yasser Al Sahrani collided with the goalkeeper of his team Mohammed Alowais and was unconscious. Alowais was trying to grab the ball and accidentally kneed the face of Sahrani. As a result, Sahrani was rushed to the hospital. A report by India Today stated that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, ordered that the player be flown via a private jet to Germany for treatment.
What’s next in the FIFA World Cup?
After yesterday’s loss, Argentina will now play the match against Mexico and Poland on November 26 and November 30, respectively. Today, November 23, Morocco will play against Croatia at 3.30 pm in a Group F match. A Group E match will be played by Germany against Japan at 6.30 pm and Spain will play against Costa Rica in a Group E match at 9.30 pm.