Saudi Arabia, in a major upset, defeated Lionel Messi-led Argentina in their FIFA World Cup 2022 opener at the Lusail Stadium, Qatar on Tuesday. KSA won 2-1.

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Messi’s penalty in the first half was neutralized by Saleh Alshehri in the 48th minute. In the 53rd, Al Dawsari plucked the ball from the sky, twisted and curled before bending a shot into the far top-corner. Saudi had a 2-1 lead. 

Argentina, title favourites, did create chances in the last 30 minutes but nothing could be converted. Messi was left gasping and his teammates disappointed.  

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How much does loss vs Saudi Arabia hurt Lionel Messi’s Argentina?

Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland are a part of Group C in the FIFA World Cup this year. To qualify for the knockouts, a team will need to finish in the top two. 

The loss against Saudi Arabia is more of a psychological damage for the Argentine. 

Also Read | FIFA World Cup 2022: What went wrong for Argentina against Saudi Arabia?

Argentina arrived in Qatar on a 36-match unbeaten streak, one shy of tying Italy’s record in international men’s football, set from 2018-21. They were exceptional in qualifiers. High on form, world no 3 took 15 shots in the game against Saudi Arabia, six on target. 

Also read: Saudi Arabia defeat Argentina: Top 5 upsets in FIFA World Cup history

However, they lacked in adding the venomous touch to the strikes. Now, Messi and co face criticism from experts and fans. 

A stunned Messi watched as scores of green-clad fans from Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s neighbor, celebrated in in disbelief in the stands. Saudi Arabia’s substitutes stormed the field.