The world is enjoying football fever; but on Super Tuesday it was the biggest surprise as Saudis shocked Argentina. Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina 2- 1 on Tuesday, a win that will rank alongside memorable WC upsets like the US beating England in 1950, N Korea upsetting Italy in ‘66, Cameroon defeating Argentina in ‘90, S Korea shocking Italy & Spain in 2002 & Germany in ‘18.
Saudi Arabia is the first Asian team to beat Argentina in World Cup. They are also the 1st non-English team to beat them in this tournament since Cameroon in 1990. Salman Al -Faraj’s men end Argentina’s 36 – game unbeaten streak and are the 1st Asian team to score 2 goals against La Albiceleste in the World Cup.
This is the 1st match Argentina have lost since 1958 ( vs W Germany) after scoring first & since 1930 (vs Uruguay ) after leading at half time. The last 3 teams to beat Argentina in the World Cup have gone on to win it (Germany in 2014 & France in 2018 ) or reached the final ( Croatia in 2018 ).
Poland playing out a goal less draw in the Group C match means Argentina are now last in the group . Top 2 teams will qualify for knockouts. Lionel Messi, appearing in his 5th World Cup , looked shell shocked even as Saudi players prayed after the historic win. Saudi Arabia declared a public holiday on Wednesday. “ It is our victory “ , said regional Gulf rivals. Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tammi bin Hamas al – Thani, even draped himself in the Saudi flag.
Argentina’s 1st goal was scored by Lionel Messi in 10 th minute which was equalised by Arabia’s Saleh El Shehr in 48th minute & the clincher came in 53 rd minute when Salem Aldawsari hit the deciding one.
Long after the dust settles down on the stadia of Qatar, this Arabia’s win will be talked about as it has become a legend. It will be a clarion call for India ‘s football fraternity to try to reach at least the qualifying stage in the years to come as we will be the largest country in the world by next November.