FRIDAY, February 23, 2024

“Where’s Messi?” Saudi fans after shock 2-1 win over Argentina

“Where’s Messi?”  Saudi fans after shock 2-1 win over Argentina

Exuberant Saudi Arabia fans spilled out of Lusail Stadium in song and dance after their side defeated the Goliath of their group, Argentina, in their opening 2022 World Cup match on Tuesday (November 22).

The win is already being called one of the biggest shock upsets in World Cup history as the Saudis topped Lionel Messi and company 2-1.

Saudi Arabia fans shouted, “where’s Messi” and “they can’t look us in the eye,” as they made their way out of the stadium and into the streets of the city of Lusail, immediately north of the capital Doha.

Argentina fans, on the other hand, were in a state of disbelief as they turned their attention to the remaining matches in the group phase against Mexico and Poland.

Saudi Arabia fans celebrate in Souq Waqif after the match between Saudia Arabia and Argentina

On his fifth and final quest for the only major trophy to elude him, the 35-year-old Messi scored a 10th minute penalty in a dominant first half display where he and Lautaro Martinez also had three goals disallowed for offside.


But Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament after Ghana, threw caution to the wind at the start of the second half, charging at Argentina's defence in front of a frenzied 88,012 crowd.

Saleh Al-Shehri squeezed in a low shot in the 48th minute while Salem Al-Dawsari curled in a scorching strike from the edge of the penalty area in the 53rd minute to leave Argentina and Messi looking utterly shell-shocked in the Group C opener.

Saudi Arabia minister of sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki celebrates Saudi Football Federation/Handout

The result revived old question marks over Argentina's defence and broke their amazing 36-match undefeated run. That stopped them from matching the international record of 37 games unbeaten held by Italy.

It also marred Messi's achievement of becoming the first Argentine to score in four World Cups on his 20th appearance in the tournament. Only Maradona has played more games for Argentina at the World Cup, 21 in all.

Fans in Riyadh watch Argentina v Saudi Arabia - Marsool Park Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - November 22, 2022 Saudi Arabia fans are pictured with flags during the match