Crazy goal, heroic defense, 15 minutes of extra time… Saudi Arabia’s heroics against Argentina
How to stutter the first match in the World Cup? You should refer to Argentina regarding humble Saudi Arabia. Unbelievable but true. The magic of the ever-renewing World Cup… South America 2021 champions Scaloni’s side, unbeaten for three years and 36 games, lost to Saudi Arabia, who have won just 3 of their 16 World Cup matches so far (2 draws, 11 losses). ).
Episode 1: Argentina cruises around, but three goals are disallowed
However, Argentina-Saudi Arabia didn’t have 10 minutes before Lionel Messi’s 5th World Cup and Albiceleste start with the best of signs: a penalty on the stroke of half-time, a straight left-footed cross converted, while Al-Owais, the Saudi goalkeeper, on the right flank missed (1-0, 10th) – Messi’s 7th goal in the World Cup.
A generous penalty for Abdulhamid’s ultra-classic tackle on Paredes was well taken by the ex-Parisian and awarded by Slovenian referee Mr Vincic after watching.
But after that, success and grit slightly distracted the Argentinians, who were too eager to take refuge on the scoreboard, neglecting the game. The result: three goals disallowed in the first period due to offside positions for Messi (22nd) and two for Lautaro Martinez, clearly too impatient to open the scoring at the World Cup (27th and 35th).
Episode 2: Saudi’s Impossible Awakening
Hervé Renard’s men, who topped the Saudi side’s qualifying groups ahead of Japan and Australia (one defeat), were not there to make up the numbers in a stadium that was largely left behind. Athletically competitive and technically advanced for some, 12 of them playing for the same Al-Hilal club, the regions of the stage didn’t hesitate to attack, even if it meant leaving space behind the South American artisans.
At the start of the second half, the sky was too tense for the Argentines for five minutes, for many senators or debutants, despite the goal advantage – Messi’s penalty from the 10th minute.
After a lost ball in the center circle, Al-Shehri, who served well in the middle, crossed the left foot into the side net, played with the bodyguard Romero, and converted the first Saudi shot on target (1:1). , 49). And the Lusail stadium, mostly Saudi green, explodes with joy and pride…
Episode 3: Al-Dawsari Skylight
Later, Al-Dawsari, who again took advantage of the passivity of the Argentines, doubled the bet by sending a shot from the right, which was out of the reach of Emiliano Martinez from the angle of the Argentinian surface (1-2, 53rd). A great, exceptional goal – perhaps one of the best of this World Cup? – Allows to bypass Saudi Arabia. Unbelievable.
Episode 4: heroic defense, concussion and… 15 minutes of overtime
In the last half hour, of course, the Albiceleste increased the number of attacks on Al-Owais’ goal, but the efforts of Tagliafico (63), Lautaro (69 and 74), Di Maria (72) and Messi – even a free kick (81st) and a header ( 84) failed. The endgame is suffocating. The Saudi goalkeeper injured one of his players during an aerial duel, and the second left the field knocked out and possibly concussed.
It borders on the irrational: with 15 minutes added on, the Saudis trail by eleven and clear all possession. Al-Owais’ last-ditch save from Alvarez’s header did not lead to an equaliser, as Argentina’s siege of Lusail. Saudi Arabia won a historic victory.