Argentina started the 2022 World Cup campaign with a shocking 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia at the Dusail Iconic stadium. Despite a dominant first half display by Argentina, the South Americans succumbed to a resilient Saudi Arabia team determined to defy odds.
Argentina were favorites from the onset, dominating the game with superstar Lionel Messi leading the charge. Just after 10 minutes, the Argentina skipper gave his side the lead after the Green Falcons conceded a penalty, which he coolly put away.
Argentina were well organized in the first half with a speedy game characterised by high intensity but it was not their day as the La Albiceleste had three potential goals disallowed by Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for offside.
Saudi Arabia drew level in the first 10 minutes of the second half through Saleh Al-Shehri with a low effort before Salem Al Dawsari fired them ahead on the 53rd minute with a well-executed effort which stunned the Argentines and made the difference at the final whistle.
Despite efforts to restore parity and perhaps snatch all three-points, Messi and his charges fell short, thanks to resilient defending by the Saudi side. Argentina now must face Mexico and Poland in what could be tightly contested fixtures that could leave the South Americans on the brink of elimination.
The Albicelestes came into the tournament as favorites, on the back of a 36-game unbeaten run that included winning the 2021 Copa America.
Argentina will face Mexico in their second group stage game on 26th Nov before facing Poland in their last group stage game on 30th Nov.