Argentina He suffered a defeat as painful as it was unexpected against Saudi Arabia 2-1 in his debut in the 2022 World Cup, this Tuesday in Lusail, and Lionel Messi’s team is having a complicated future in the competition.
The Saudis, who managed the first big upset of the tournament, They seemed on paper the weakest team in group C, which is completed by Mexico and Poland, and everything had started well for the Albiceleste, with a penalty from Lionel Messi (minute 10), but then the Asians turned the score around through Saleh Al Sheri (48) and Salem Al Dawsari (53).
The Argentines, who had seen three goals disallowed for offside in the first half, were unable to recover and crashed time and again in their attempts to avoid disaster. “You have to get up, win the other two games. Today is a sad day, but as we always say, head up and forward”, said coach Lionel Scaloni.
in dialogue with WEEK, the Argentine journalist Pablo Carrozza assured that Argentina is being treated as if it were Colombia, this to refer to weak teams. “We are not used to losing in this way with a clearly inferior team like Saudi Arabia, but we are talking about the champion of America, we are talking about a team that I have no doubt will recover and qualify for the round of 16.” (…). I feel that around the world this team, which had been undefeated, is being underestimated, treating it as if it were a minor team, almost like Venezuela, Bolivia or Colombia”.
The streak of games without losing Argentina he stayed at 36, one away from reaching the record of 37 of Roberto Mancini’s Italy. La Scaloneta had not lost since July 2019, in the semifinal against Brazil in the Copa América that year.
Messi, who signed his seventh goal in a World Cup, could not celebrate as he thought the day he sealed his fifth participation in the tournament, a record that allowed him to reach big names such as the German Lothar Matthaüs, the Italian Gianluigi Buffon and the Mexicans Antonio Carbajal and Rafa Márquez. But the defeat at Lusail marred any celebration or silver lining. “It is a very hard blow. We didn’t expect to start this way. We were confident that we would start off well, with the three points”, admitted Messi as he passed through the mixed zone.
The journalist also assured that “it was obvious that at some point Saudi Arabia was going to be favored. It is a World Cup that Europeans do not go to, because they are not interested. It is a World Cup where (Middle East) will be favored. Argentina was Olympically robbed”. And he added: “The VAR came to ruin football and it came to spread injustice in football, because the powerful are the ones who end up winning (…) I think they are dramatizing Argentina’s defeat too much, we are going to thrash Mexico”, added.
In group C, Saudi Arabia is the surprising first leader, with 3 points, and Argentina closes to zero. In between, Poland and Mexico, who tied 0-0 in the other game and add one point. Robert Lewandowski even missed a penalty for the Poles in the second half, which made veteran Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo ‘Memo’ Ochoa, who was also reaching his fifth World Cup, the hero of the match. “We don’t look down on anyone and we’re not going to, but Mexico He is also a difficult opponent, we are going to put a difficult job on all of them”, Ochoa stated.
Likewise, another of the day’s matches ended with a goalless tie, the one between Denmark and Tunisia, members of group D in which France, the reigning world champions, began with a 4-1 win against Australia. Les Bleus, champions in 2018, appeared weakened by injuries, including the loss of Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, who was already injured in Qatar during team training. Argentina and Mexico will face each other on November 26. For the journalist consulted by WEEK It will be a formality and the Argentines will give Mexico a win. A false start can leave them out of Qatar 2022.