On the morning of this Tuesday (22), Argentina and Saudi Arabia played the first game of Group C gives world Cup at the stadium Lusail🇧🇷
The history of the match is short, but favorable for the albiceleste: there were four games played, with two Argentine victories and two draws. In goals scored, a good advantage for Argentina: there were six in favor and only two against. This was the first game between the two teams for World Cups.
The match was surprising. In the first half, Argentina dominated and just didn’t go to the break with a wide advantage due to Saudi Arabia’s sharp offside line. In the second, the Arabs tried to turn around in ten minutes and held off the pressure exerted by the Argentines to win a historic victory.
Argentina scores four, but only one counts
Argentina started the match by putting pressure on the Arab team and at 2′ almost opened the scoring after a good finish by Lionel Messiwhich forced the goalkeeper Al-Owais to make good defense. Arabia, on the other hand, seemed to feel the weight of the match against one of the favorites and started to abuse the fouls early on.
At 10′, Leandro Paredes suffered a penalty after a set-piece and Messi converted, opening the scoring for Argentina and becoming another player in the select group that scored in four World Cups. 1 to 0.
The Argentine team remained far superior to Saudi Arabia, who relied on their offside line to contain the attacking moves of the two-time champions. By the 25th minute, they had already managed to cancel out four offensive tackles by the Argentines – one of which had even ended in a goal by Lionel Messi, which was disallowed.
At 27′, Lautaro Martinez got a great pass from Papu Gomez as he passed between the Saudi defense and, with a beautiful touch for coverage, scored Argentina’s second goal. However, after interference from VAR, his goal was disallowed for offside. At 34′, the situation repeated itself: another goal by Lautaro Martinez annulled due to irregular positioning.
Despite having managed to annul the Argentine rises with their good line of offsides, Saudi Arabia did not do great things during the first half. Argentina had full control of the game, with 54% possession of the ball (against 28% from Arabia and 18% in contention), five submissions and 250 passes (88% of use) versus just 120 of the Arabs.
The impediments, which marked the comments of the first half, were seven🇧🇷
Saudi Arabia’s turn and tactical discipline
The second half started very similarly to the end of the first, with an attacking play nullified for offside, and the rhythm looked as if it would follow the same. However, after Messi’s dominance error still in the attacking field, Saudi Arabia managed to create a good attacking move in speed and tied the match in its first finalization with Saleh Al-Shehri🇧🇷 1 to 1🇧🇷
Argentina seemed to feel the tie a lot, which in turn was motivated by the equality on the scoreboard and remained in the attack. At 53′, Salem Al-Shehri made a great move on the left and, with a masterful finish, turned to the Arabs, making 2 to 1🇧🇷
The Argentina team felt the turn and were clearly tense after the second Arab goal, needing a few minutes to recover. In the 63rd minute, the Argentines finally got back to attacking and almost reached a tie, but Al-Owais made another good save and prevented the second goal.
In an attempt not to start the World Cup with a defeat, Argentina continued to retain the most possession of the ball and exchange passes behind the midfield line in an attempt to create a dangerous play, but they always bumped into the good formation of the Arabs, who they acted with great discipline and kept their positioning and marking sharp. Physically, the Saudi eagles were also better and won most of the ball disputes with Argentina.
In the moments when Argentina finally managed to arrive, they stopped in the defenses of the good goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais. Until the 87th minute of the game, the number one of the Saudi national team had already made four good defenses to guarantee the advantage of his selection.
The selection led by Lionel Messi continued to pressure Arabia, but without being able to attack. The Arabs remained very closed in their defense and with a very intense physical marking, containing any Argentine attack. In one of the last moves of the game, Julian Alvarez he still managed to finish with a good header, but again Al-Owais made a good defense and ensured possession of the ball for the Arabs.
The match still had another thirteen minutes of added time due to the injury of Al-Shahrani, but even that was not enough for Argentina to reach the tie and the final score was 2-1 for Saudi Arabia, which won with two goals in only two shots on target.
Argentina vs Saudi Arabia
Date: 11/22/2022, 07:00
goals: 10′ Messi (ARG), 48′ Al-Shehri (ARA), 53′ Al-Dawsari (ARA)
Substitutions – ARG: 59′ Martinez, Álvarez, Fernandéz (Romero, Gómez, Paredes), 70′ Acuña (Tagliafico)
Substitutions – ARA: 45’+4 Al-Abed (Al-Faraj), 78′ Al-Ghannam (Al-Shehri), 88′ Al-Abed (Al-Amri), 89′ Albirakian (Asiri), 90+8′ Al-Burayk (Al-Shahrani)
Argentina (4-2-3-1): Martinez – Tagliafico, Otamendi, Romero, Molina – Paredes, de Paul – Gómez, Messi (c), Di Maria – Martinez
Technician: Lionel Scaloni
Saudi Arabia (4-4-1-1): Al-Owais – Abdulhamid, Al Tambakti, Al-Boleahi, Al-Shahrani – Al-Shehri, Kanno, Al Malki, Al-Dawsari – Al-Faraj (c) – Al-Buraikan
Technician: Herve Renard