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World: Messi's Argentina overwhelmed by heroic Saudis

Spectators at the Lusail stadium, the largest in Qatar with its 80,000 seats, witnessed one of the biggest surprises in the history of the competition.

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World: Messi's Argentina overwhelmed by heroic Saudis

Spectators at the Lusail stadium, the largest in Qatar with its 80,000 seats, witnessed one of the biggest surprises in the history of the competition.

In difficulty in small spaces, like the star of Paris SG who missed his entry into the tournament, and often lacking synchronization in the races, the South Americans were above all upset by the solid physical challenge imposed by the men of French coach Hervé Renard.

Their defense was very worrying while at the forefront, the Messi-Di Maria-Martinez trident largely disappointed.

By signing an inevitably unexpected performance against one of the favorites of the competition, the other Gulf country of this World Cup has made a much better figure than its Qatari neighbor, stunned by Ecuador in the opening match of the tournament (0-2).

A penalty converted by Messi (10) first put Argentina on the march in the first period.

By surrounding Leandro Paredes, Saud Abdulhamid led the VAR to challenge the Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic. Which therefore judged the wrongful action to the chagrin of the Saudis visibly surprised by this decision.

- Messi without solution -

A frustrating blow for the men of Hervé Renard because they then offered a good response to the winners of the last Copa America, in particular by handling with mastery the trap of offside in which successively fell Messi (22nd) and Lautaro Martinez (25th, 35th).

Admittedly, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez spent a quiet first period, watching his teammates from afar getting bogged down in the Saudi defense or colliding with a very good Mohamed Al-Owais whose gloves had heated up from the 2nd minute and a first attempt of Messi.

But the last Argentinian rampart lived five nightmarish minutes after returning from the locker room, being abandoned by his defense - in particular by Tottenham defender Cristian Romero - on goals from Saleh Al-Sherhi (48) and Salem Al-Dawsari (53 ), completely uninhibited.

Guilty of a loss of ball at the origin of the 1-2, Messi somewhat reassured his supporters on his physical state, after being touched in the right ankle last week.

But the seven-time Ballon d'Or, like his partners, appeared helpless, distraught as when he attempted an insane solo in the final minutes, in front of the Saudis who had won only three of their sixteen matches. World Cup before Tuesday.

The Albiceleste players who had remained on an unbeaten streak of 36 matches for more than three years (only one length from the world record set by Italy) probably did not expect to fall from the start, paralyzed leaving the field together after almost a quarter of an hour of added time.

And to see the explosion of joy of the Saudis at the final whistle, we imagine that they too had not dreamed of such a feat.

Already in difficulty in the first round of the 2018 World Cup (with only four points four years ago), Argentina is therefore already up against the wall in Group C before facing Mexico on Saturday while the Green Falcons will be the same day against Robert Lewandowski's Poland.

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