53rd-rank Saudi Arabia had a game to remember as they successfully pulled off one of the most stunning come-from-behind wins against mighty Argentina in their FIFA World Cup 23 opener on Tuesday at Lusail Stadium. The shocking result also ended Argentina's 36-match unbeaten streak since losing the 2019 Copa America semi-final to Brazil.
Playing in his fifth and most likely final World Cup, Lionel Messi provided a lead in the tenth minute after a penalty was rewarded via VAR. However, Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked team in the elite competition after Ghana, capitalized on the opportunities well in the second half as Saleh Al-Shehri squeezed in a low shot to steal an impressive equalizer in the 48th minute.
While Argentina made several efforts to pull themselves into the game, Saudi winger Salem Al-Dawsari hammered the final nail in the coffin as he plucked the ball out of the sky near the left corner of the box, twisting and turning, before kicking a shot into the far top corner from the edge of the box to score the final goal of the evening.
The incident, which transpired seconds after Saudi Arabia ensured a lead in the match, is gaining much traction on social media as it involved one of the most decorative players in the field. Saudi Arabia defender Al-Bulayhi reached out to Argentina skipper Lionel Messi from behind and tapped the legend on the back before mincing words to his face.
In the clips of the verbal altercation going viral on the internet, Messi first appeared calm and soon shrugged off the provocative act as he smiled at the Saudi defender. Meanwhile, Al-Bulayhi has revealed that he told Messi that Argentina would not win from here. "I told him: you will not win, you will not win," the Saudi defender later revealed.
Saudi Arabia eventually notched up a historic win over one of the competition's favorites, breaking Argentina's second-longest unbeaten streak in international football history. Lionel Messi & Co. will now face Mexico in their next fixture and hope to replicate to do the same as Spain from the 2010 World Cup, where they ended up as champions after losing their first match against Switzerland.