Saudi Arabia provided a groundbreaking World Cup surprise on Tuesday when it beat Argentina 2-1.
Lionel Messi stood with his hands on his hips near the center circle as cheering Saudi Arabia players ran around him in all directions.
While Argentina is the third-best team in FIFA in 2022, Saudi Arabia is in 51st place.
In response to his team’s defeat, Messi said: “The truth? Dead It is a very serious blow because we didn’t expect to start this way.”
The 35-year-old soccer veteran, who took part in his fifth — and probably last — World Cup for Argentina, scratched the side of his head and shook hands with a Saudi coaching staff after the final whistle.
Messi had initially given Argentina the lead and converted a penalty for his 92nd international goal in the 10th minute.
But goals from Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari within five minutes in the second half gave the Saudis an unprecedented victory.
Saudi Arabia’s comeback — their biggest win so far was against Belgium in 1994 — is one of other big surprises at the World Cup: Cameroon’s 1-0 loss to Diego Maradona led Argentina at the 1990 World Cup; Senegal’s 1-0 win over defending champions France in the 2002 opener; or the United States beat England in 1950 with the same result.
“All the stars were on us,” explained Hervé Renard, manager of Saudi Arabia. “We’ve made history for Saudi football.”
“Today is a sad day, but as we always say, keep your head up and keep going,” said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni. “[Saudi Arabia] is a good team with technical players, they are very well prepared physically.”