Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina 2-1 Tuesday within the biggest-ever World Cup upset. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Saudi Arabia upsets Argentina
Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina 2-1 in each groups’ opening match of the Group Stage Tuesday, marking the largest upset in World Cup historical past.
+1800 to win outright after which dropped to +5000 at halftime
It solely took three days of matches for World Cup lore to alter without end. At kickoff, the Saudis had been a staggering +1800 to win outright after which dropped to +5000 at halftime.
The Argentines trailed solely Brazil in oddsmakers’ pre-tournament rankings and have now fallen to one of many greatest lengthy photographs within the match. They’re nonetheless the favorites to win Group C, however they’re much nearer to the pack, whereas Saudi Arabia closed the gap considerably.
World Cup mayhem
To say that public assist was on the aspect of Argentina could be an understatement. The favorites had not misplaced a World Cup match throughout which it was forward at halftime in 92 years, and 35-year-old captain Lionel Messi has a switch worth over twice that of your complete Saudi Arabia squad, per Transfermarkt.
The match stats and closing rating paint two completely different photos. Argentina out-possessed its opponent 69%-31% and registered 15 photographs on aim (six on course) to only three (two on course).
Messi opened the scoring by changing a penalty kick within the tenth minute to place his crew up 1-0. Then, shortly into the second half, a defensive lapse by Argentina led to Saudi Arabia’s first aim, and winger Salem Al-Dawsari conjured the eventual winner within the 53rd minute with a second of particular person brilliance.
The Saudis had been compelled to face up to an attacking onslaught for 40+ minutes after netting their second, however they held agency and finally walked out of Lusail Iconic Stadium with three factors.
The oddsmakers nonetheless have them because the least more likely to qualify from Group C, with Mexico and Poland readying to take the pitch for the primary time Tuesday afternoon, however they’ve already gathered the second-most factors in a Group Stage of their nation’s historical past and most since 1992.
A window of alternative
Tuesday’s loss was Argentina’s first since 2019 and in 36 matches. Not solely has the facility dynamic in Group C modified drastically, however the nation’s long-term future within the competitors appears a lot bleaker than it did 24 hours in the past.
second seed is more likely to face France within the first spherical of the knockout
If any of the opposite groups can capitalize on the dropped factors, they may pressure Argentina to qualify because the second seed in Group C, if in any respect. The second seed is more likely to face France within the first spherical of the knockout, which might current a significant issue for any nation.
Messi beforehand stated that his hardest opponents within the match could be England, Brazil, and France. He clearly didn’t account for Saudi Arabia when compiling his checklist.
The surprising consequence not solely has severe implications for the group standings, however it’s yet one more win for Saudi Arabia in its push to extend its affect in soccer. 9 of the 11 Saudi starters play for Al Hilal SFC, the perennial high crew in Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Professional League, which may convey extra eyes to the league, however past that, it partially validates the Saudi Public Funding Fund’s controversial takeover of English Premier League membership Newcastle United.
The takeover was considered as “inorganic” and in opposition to the character of the game, however If Saudi Arabia can display a renewed dedication to growing a extra aggressive and full soccer tradition, many of those claims will fall on deaf ears.
Because it stands, the percentages to win Group C as follows, in accordance with FanDuel:
- Argentina: +175
- Mexico: +280
- Poland: +280
- Saudi Arabia: +350