FIFA World Cup: Saudi defeats two-time winners Argentinatext_fields
Saudi Arabia surprised the football world by defeating Argentina on Tuesday. The Middle-eastern team beat Lionel Messi's two-time winners 2-1.
The Kingdom's footballers played a highly defensive game and took risks. The South American team has been on an unbeaten run for the past 36 games.
In the first half, Argentina had the ball in the net three times but was denied by an offside call. However, in the second half, Saudi scored two goals and beat Argentina for the first time in five attempts, reported NDTV.
The first half was dominated by Argentina and it looked like Saudi's risk-taking tactic was going to cost them. When Saud Abdulhamid wrestled Leandro Paredes to the ground in the box at a corner, the VAR intervened to award a penalty. However, three minutes into the second half, Saleh Al-Shehri cancelled out the early Lionel Messi penalty.
The next goal came after five minutes. Al-Dawsari took a clever turn and beat two defenders before shifting the ball past a third and shooting into the top far corner. Messi tried to score a goal but Al-Tambakti tackled it with a desperate slide. Argentina's attempt to score was blocked by goalkeeper Al-Owais.
Saudi Arabia's French coach Herve Renard has asked his players not to celebrate for too long. He said: "All the stars in the sky were aligned for us, but don't forget Argentina is still a fantastic team. This is football, sometimes totally crazy things can happen. (We can) just have a good celebration for 20 minutes and that's all, there are still two more games. When you come to the World Cup, you need to believe in yourself, anything can happen in football," reported AFP.
Despite the win, the coach is not entirely happy with his team. He said the team wasn't tactically good in the first half. "Our block was compact but our pressure on the centre-backs and (defensive midfielder) Leandro Paredes was not enough. If we had conceded a second goal at that time, the game would have been finished. During half-time I wasn't happy because the pressure wasn't good enough, the determination wasn't good enough and when you come to the World Cup, you need to give everything. We can't play as we did in the first half," he added.
The 54-year-old coach further said sometimes a team like Argentina does not have the best motivation when they are playing lower teams like Saudi Arabia. "Some people don't understand but you can imagine that when you're playing against Saudi Arabia, the motivation is not the same as playing against Brazil."