It was surreal. It was unexpected. It was amazing!
The World Cup saw one of the most shocking — in a good way — game upsets and created awe that was felt worldwide. To sum up, what happened, Argentina’s legendary Lionel Messi tried his might to cut through for Argentina but Saudi Arabia players were simply unstoppable. For starters, the odds were against Saudi having its captain on crutches, but bouncing around later on in amazement and disbelief at how his team created the epic upset in World Cup history.
First off, Argentina is known as a very strong contender for the World Cup. It is undeniably among the crowd favourites and is Copa America champions — wholly unbeaten in 36 games. They have their weapon, Messi — aiming to thresh out his finest since this is his last World Cup event. In the first 10 minutes of the match, he also scored the first goal for the World Cup — a penalty kick.
After the 10th minute, Saudi lorded it over
Saudi Arabia ranked 51st in the world — just one space below Qatar moved forward so effectively that it stunned everyone — including themselves — with its amazing gameplay. The match will go down in history just as the other legendary matches have been retold: USA v England in 1950, Northern Ireland v Spain in 1982 and Argentina’s defeat of Cameroon in the opening game of the 1990 tournament.
Salem al-Dawsari delivered an unexpected strike five minutes after Saleh al-Shehri cancelled out Argentina’s merited lead thus resulting in the greatest moment in Saudi Arabia’s football history. Everyone from the Saudi team — players, coaches, backroom staff and the hobbling captain, Salman al-Faraj, whose World Cup was ruined by a first-half injury — poured onto the pitch when the Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic ended their torment after 14 minutes of stoppage time.
The Lusail Stadium was echoing with the cheers from the mass of Saudi fans long after the long whistle. The Saudi Arabia players, including goalscorer Saleh Al-Shehri, and staff celebrate their victory over Argentina. Hervé Renard, Saudi Arabia’s French head coach expressed, “We have made history” and saluted the ‘crazy’ Saudi Arabia’s victory
The rundown on Argentina’s morale possibly took root after having three goals disallowed for offside in the space of 13 first-half minutes. There were also missed chances and ran into a seemingly invincible goalkeeper in the shape of Mohammed al-Owais. Argentina’s goalkeeper, Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martínez, was only able to collect the ball twice out of his net.
Saudi Arabia’s Fierce Defense Carried Throughout the Match
Saudi Arabia was complete in its stunning performance. Complete in the sense that all players were delivering more than the expected results and they were unusually solidly strong in all aspects of their gameplay. They were unrelenting, nimble, well-organized and fluidly moving throughout the match. Their central defender Hassan al‑Tambakti led with fervid resistance and their goals — choreographed perfectly.
Saudi Arabia’s commitment to a high defensive line was a high-risk strategy that almost broke into Argentina’s hand in the first half of the game. As the game progressed, one can clearly sense that Messi was not at his best in the match. Lautaro Martinez was also not having a great day on the field. This was evident during Argentina’s second offside goal.
This unusually off mode of play from Argentina set up the unwavering hope for Saudi Arabia to push on and keep moving forward with their gameplay. It indeed paid off — big time. They began their aggressive stance in attacking and dominated the game with a solid wall of defence.
As Feras al-Brikan turned a ball out of midfield into the path of Shehri, the striker, surged past Cristian Romero on the left before beating Martínez with a clinical finish that crept inside the far post. Argentina — rattled and stunned — wasn’t prepared to stop yet another strike five minutes later. An epic sight to behold as the ball flew from the right foot of Dawsari.
Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al-Dawsari scores their second goal.
Salem Al-Dawsari became a god. He was able to score the winning second goal for Saudi Arabia and made history. As soon as Dawsari retrieved possession on the far side of the area, he sashayed and twisted away from two Argentina tackles. Finally, cut across a lunge from Parades and followed through with the incredible shot beyond Martinez into the top corner.
Towards the end of the game, Saudi Arabia remained fierce and completely focused on their game. Unwavering and had the crowd standing on their fee — Saudi’s goalkeeper, Mohammed al-Owais solidly saved a close-range goal by Nicolás Tagliafico. By any means necessary, he stood his ground and held onto an Alvarez header deep into stoppage time. And then, it was over.
This is what the World Cup is made of. Stunning results come with that determination that the football players exhibit and Saudi Arabia has truly overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. Hopefully, the Saudi team will carry this rhythm through. This will indeed keep the fans cheering on even after the tourney has long ended. Add in your comments below dear reader, we definitely want to hear from you, who your favourite teams are and your insights. Hope to hear from you soon, cheers!