The first big surprise of the World Cup in Qatar is the loss of Argentina’s selection against Saudi Arabia 1:2 on Tuesday.
Photo: SITA/AP, Ebrahim Noroozi
Lionel Messi with the players of Saudi Arabia.
Although the favorite led in the C-group fight from the 10th minute with a goal by Lionel Messi, who scored from a penalty kick.
The start of the second half brought a shock, when Saleh Al Shahrí and Salem Al Davsári scored in the span of five minutes. The team from the Arabian Peninsula luckily kept the narrowest lead in the rest of the meeting.
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The star Lionel Messi started his fifth World Cup and managed to score in four. Before Qatar 2022, he also scored a goal in Russia 2018, Brazil 2014 and Germany 2006. He came up empty-handed in JAR 2010.
Footage emerged on social media after the second goal in which defender Ali Buláihi patted Messi on the back and told him: “You won’t win, you won’t win!”
At least that’s what the player of the winning team claimed after the match after being asked a question by a reporter. Messi was at first visibly confused by the words on the pitch, then smiled. Watch the video:
The superstar was not looking for excuses after the match.
“There are no excuses. We will be more united than ever. This group is strong and Saudi Arabia showed it. It’s a hard blow for everyone. We didn’t expect to start like this. Things happen for a reason. We must prepare for what is to come. We just have to win, it depends on us,” he said.
The seven-time winner of the Ballon d’Or did not want to complain about Argentina’s goals not being recognized for offside when the score was 1:0.
“I saw the footage and it was very close. When they didn’t recognize them, they were probably clear offsides. We can’t complain about that. Those goals that weren’t recognized came at a time when we thought we would create many more chances.
We made the mistake of going straight for goal instead of using the edges. We knew that they would defend high and we fell into their trap a little bit,” stated Messi, who is not giving up on the dream of winning the title of world champion.
“I am telling the fans to stay calm. We know it’s a big disappointment and that it hurts, but we have to keep believing. We need people to continue to believe that this team will not let them down. We will try to win against Mexico,” added Messi.
“Before the match, we were declared favorites, but the World Cup also brings such things,” said Argentine skipper Lionel Scaloni.
At the same time, the selection of Argentina was pulling a long string without a loss before Tuesday, before that it did not achieve a victory or a draw for the last time in July 2019.
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“We messed up in the second half. They decided the details that we have to work on,” thinks forward Lautaro Martínez, teammate of Slovakian representative Milan Škriniar in Italian Inter Milan.
Enthusiasm reigned on the opposite side.
“All the stars were in our favor. We achieved a historic result for football in Saudi Arabia,” French coach Herve Renard commented on the shocking triumph of his charges.
A duel against the Mexicans awaits Argentina’s selection already on Saturday, on Wednesday 30.11. they will compete with the Poles. The Saudi Arabian national team will challenge the Poles and then the Mexicans on Saturday.