Saudi Arabia stun Argentina in one of World Cup’s biggest ever shocks
Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history by beating much-fancied Argentina in their opening match in Qatar today.
Lionel Messi put Argentina ahead with a penalty but second-half goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari stunned the two-time winners and delighted the strong Saudi support at the Lusail Stadium.
The result flung Group C wide open, with Mexico and Poland set to play later on Tuesday.
Statisticians Nielsen Gracenote ranked it as the biggest shock in the history of the tournament, with Saudi Arabia having just an 8.7 per cent chance of winning the fixture.
Their World Cup squad is estimated to be worth just £42m, according to the CIES Football Observatory, a fraction of Argentina’s £646m.
Messi put Argentina ahead with a penalty in the 10th minute after a foul on Leandro Paredes, before Lautaro Martinez had a goal disallowed for offside after a review by the video assistant referee.
But Saudi Arabia turned the contest on its head after half-time, first through Al-Shehri’s precise low finish and then when Al Dawsari smashed into the top corner.
It sparked jubilation among the thousands of fans who had travelled to Qatar from neighbouring Saudi Arabia to see the biggest result in the Green Falcons’ history.