Saudi Arabia beats Messi's Argentina 2-1 in World Cup stunner

Just how did Saudi Arabia cause one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history? Chloe Keedy reports from Qatar

Lionel Messi's Argentina squad was left reeling after Saudi Arabia snatched victory in one of the biggest World Cup upsets ever.

Saudi Arabia won 2-1 on Tuesday after netting two goals within five minutes in the second half.

The Gulf state had won only three of their previous 16 matches on the world stage and looked set for another defeat when Messi scored a 10th minute penalty.

The 35-year-old became only the fifth player to score at a four World Cups, but this was not his or Argentina's day as their 36-match unbeaten run came to a crashing end.

The victors are ranked 51st in FIFA's world rankings, just behind World Cup host Qatar. Argentina is third, just after Brazil and Belgium.

The Saudi Arabia team celebrated in style following their unexpected victory

A jubilant Saudi Arabia squad were seen chanting in their dressing room as water bottles were sprayed in triumphant celebration.

One of the players was so excited with the team's victory that he slid across a table surrounded by his teammates, who were jumping up and down and embracing one another.

Messi’s quest to win the one major title to elude him got off to a shocking start and brought back memories of Cameroon’s 1-0 win over an Argentina team led by Diego Maradona in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup.

Goals by Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari in a five-minute span in the second half gave the Saudis the win. Argentina took an early lead with a 10th-minute penalty by Messi.

The Paris Saint-Germain Messi star shook hands with a Saudi coaching staff member after the final whistle and stood with his hands on his hips near the centre circle - an all-too familiar scene for one of the best players ever who is yet to win the biggest prize in football.

The unlikely victory was sealed by a somersault from Aldawsari, who brought down a high ball just inside the penalty area, turned one defender, jinked past another and drove a powerful shot past goalkeeper Emi Martinez, who got a hand on the ball but couldn’t keep out of the net in the 53rd.

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.

Messi put Argentina ahead from the penalty spot after the video assistant referee told the referee to take a look at a jersey grab by Saud Abdulhamid on Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes.

With Saudi Arabia’s first shot in goal, Saleh Alshehri found the bottom corner with an angled finish through the legs of defender Cristian Romero.

Saudi Arabia's fans celebrate their victory after the World Cup group C match Credit: AP

Previously, Argentina had not lost since falling to Brazil 2-0 in the 2019 Copa América.

Argentina first won the World Cup in 1978, and then again in 1986 - one year before Messi was born.

The team reached the final in 2014 and lost to Germany, and in a bitter follow-up four years later was eliminated in the round of 16 in Russia. The Argentina loss rivals other World Cup upsets like Senegal's 1-0 win over titleholder France 1-0 in the 2002 tournament opener and the United States beating England by the same score in 1950.

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