Startling! Argentina lost 1-2 to Saudi Arabia in the first week of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Playing at the Lusail Stadium, Tuesday, November 22, 2022, Lionel Messi’s single goal was broken by Saleh Al Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari.
Saudi Arabia’s players deserve to celebrate their first win in history. Under high expectations, Messi and his Argentina team officially made their World Cup debut.
This is La Albiceleste’s first game at this World Cup, and Messi is starting his last World Cup journey.
In the opener against Saudi Arabia, Messi opened the scoring with a penalty, but then three of Argentina’s goals were ruled out for offside. In the second half, the Saudis played a series of counter-attacks, Shehri scored from a small angle, and then Salem showed his ability to give the Saudis a 2-1 win.
Lionel Messi was reportedly injured
Unbeaten in 36 matches, Argentina is predicted to be a goal feast against Saudi Arabia. All the fans are looking forward to how much Argentina can play in this match. After all, in the history of the World Cup, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly been a victim against La Albiceleste.
Prior to this match, Argentina won all five games, scored 19 goals and conceded 0, and were unbeaten in 36 matches for three consecutive years, just one game away from equaling Italy’s unbeaten record of 37 matches.
Of course, the most interesting thing is every move of superstar Lionel Messi. Prior to the match, the Paris Saint-Germain star had missed training for the Argentine team, which caused concern from the outside world because it was judged by Messi to be injured.
However, according to Argentine media, Messi still participated in the final training session before the match against Saudi Arabia, and Messi himself told a press conference that his physical condition was normal.
“I felt great, I was in the rhythm of the game without any problems. I got a bit of a bump, so I trained differently, it was just a precaution, nothing special.
“This is my last World Cup, this is my last chance to chase a big dream, and it’s a dream for all of us. I’m very motivated and full of passion right now,” Messi said, according to various sources.
Messi Scores Goals and Records
It was Messi’s first goal at this World Cup and his seventh in any World Cup, and his career World Cup goals have equaled Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi was the first player to represent Argentina and score in all four World Cup games. At the same time, this is Messi’s 21st World Cup match, equaling Maradona and becoming the player to have played the most World Cup matches for Argentina.
Messi is also the fifth player to score in four different World Cup competitions (2006, 2014, 2018, 2022) after Pele, Uwe Schiller, Klose and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The penalty was also Messi’s 12th for Argentina in 2022, tying his national team record for goals scored in a calendar year.
In Argentina’s last 20 goals in all competitions, Messi has contributed 11 goals and three assists, being directly involved in 14 goals.
Argentina’s Goals Canceled Semi-automatic Offside System
Furthermore, the semi-automatic offside system activated at the 2022 World Cup canceled out Argentina’s goals twice, once with a Messi goal and once again through a Lautaro Martinez goal. In total, throughout the first half, 3 Argentine goals were canceled.
But just after the start of the second half, Shehri scored from a small angle, and the Saudis equalized! It was also the first shot on target for the Saudi team in this match.
In the 53rd minute, Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1, Salem showed excellent individual ability!
In the next match, the Saudis played more freely, taming many of Argentina’s attacks and even contributing a goal-line header in injury time. However, in the final moments, Saudi goalkeeper Alowaiis collided with his team-mate and slammed his knee into his team-mate’s face.
Argentina: Emiliano Martinez; Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero (Lisandro Martinez 59′), Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico (Marcos Acuna 71′); Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes (Enzo Jeremias Fernandez 59′); Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Papu Gomez (Julian Alvarez 59′); Lautaro Martinez.
Saudi Arabia: Mohammed Al Owais; Saud Abdulhamid, Hassan Tambakti, Ali Al Bulayhi, Yasir Al Shahrani (Al-Breik 89′); Feras Al Brikan (Asiri 89′), Mohammed Kanno, Adbulelah Al Malki, Salem Al Dawsari; Salman Al Faraj (Nawaf Shaker Al Abed 45+4 (Abdulelah Al Amri 89′); Saleh Al Shehri (Alganham 78′).