Most American soccer fans went to bed Monday night ready to skip Tuesday’s opening game. Better to get some sleep than watch a blowout when Argentina is going to be in the tournament for a while right? Saudi Arabia entered Group C’s opening match as a +1800 underdog (per BetMGM odds) to win and gave up a goal to Lionel Messi in the 10th minute. Right where the Saudis want to be.
In one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, Saudi Arabia scored two early second-half goals to take down Argentina and put a huge dent into the South American giant’s chances of advancing to the knockout stage, much less winning the whole damn tournament.
“It is a very hard blow for everyone, we did not expect to start this way,” Messi said after the game. “Things happen for a reason. We have to prepare for what is coming, we have to win, and it depends on us.
“There are no excuses. We are going to be more united than ever. This group is strong, and we have shown it. It is a situation that we haven’t gone through in a long time. Now we have to show that this is a real group.”
In a group completed by Mexico and Poland, Argentina’s route to winning Messi his first World Cup in what’s likely his final opportunity just got a lot harder. Saudi Arabia was written off as Group C’s punching bag, with Argentina easily advancing alongside someone else. That script is over. It’ll take a massive push for Messi and friends to make the final 16 now.
Multiple Argentina goals were taken off the board by VAR, with each of those callbacks being inches from standing. That’s why the biggest tournament in the world has help from video officials, to get the calls right. And with those correct decisions, Argentina is on the wrong side of one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
“We have to get up,” said Argentina coach Coach Lionel Scaloni after the loss. “It’s a sad day today but we need to have our heads up and continue. We are hurt but we need to turn things around and win our next games.
“We continue to believe the same as we did before. The World Cup has this, you can be infinitely superior, and things don’t go your way.
“Fortunately, we have two group games, and we are going to get it done.”