• Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

Group C: Saudi Arabia leads after historic upset

BySean Clark

Nov 22, 2022

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Marko Djurica

EDITOR’s NOTE: Elevated Media does not condone the conditions in which the World Cup came together nor is our coverage acceptance of the outdated viewpoints of Qatari leaders.

Coming into the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Argentina was considered among the favorites to win the competition one year after winning Copa America over Brazil. However, Saudi Arabia, who is ranked 51st in the official FIFA rankings, stunned Argentina with two goals in the first 10 minutes in the second half to win 2-1.

Early on, it looked like Argentina would run away with the match as Lionel Messi, who is playing his last-ever World Cup competition, slotted a penalty past Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais in the 10th minute.

Argentina kept the pressure on KSA and found many opportunities to strike. However, three goals for Argentina were disallowed due to offside calls in the first 35 minutes. Two of those goals were disallowed came from Lautaro Martinez, who is playing in his first World Cup.

After leading 1-0 at halftime, Saudi Arabia came out as the aggressors and started to formulate their historic upset. In the 48th minute, striker Saleh Al-Shehri had a great run and touch on the left wing, getting separation from two defenders and hit the ball past Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

What happened next will go down as one of the most iconic moments in the history of Saudi Arabian sports. In the 53rd minute, Salem Al-Dawsari rocketed a shot past Martinez all the way from the left wing to give Saudi Arabia a seismic lead that shockwaves throughout the world.

For the rest of the match, Al-Owais and the Saudi Arabian backline were in full defense mode as Argentina pushed with urgency to get that equalizer. In the 63rd and 101st minute, Al-Owais made two huge saves to maintain KSA’s lead, earning him the Man of the Match award.

Saudi Arabia leads Group C after a shocking upset. Argentina looked dominant in the attack, outshooting KSA 15-3 and 6-2 with shots on target along with having possession for 70% of the match. It ultimately did not matter as KSA scored on their two chances while Argentina consistently failed to convert theirs.

The win was so exciting for Saudi Arabia that King Salman declared tomorrow as a national holiday for the country.

Later on Tuesday, Mexico and Poland slogged their way to a scoreless draw. El Tri was the more aggressive team, beating the Polish 11-6 and 4-2 in the shooting department with 61% possession.

Mexico failed to take advantage and Poland had the best chance of the match. In the 58th minute, legendary Polish striker Robert Lewandowski had his opportunity to give Poland the lead, but Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who has had some incredible performances in previous World Cup appearances, saved Lewandowski’s penalty.

Saudi Arabia leads the group and on Saturday, the second Matchday will commence. Argentina will face Mexico (2:00 p.m. ET) and Poland will take on Saudi Arabia (8:00 a.m. ET).