World Cup roundup: Saudi Arabia stuns Argentina, 2-1

November 23, 2022 - 11:00 AM
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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group C - Argentina v Saudi Arabia - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - November 22, 2022 Saudi Arabia fans celebrate outside the stadium after the match (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Saudi Arabia served up a stunning upset over Argentina 2-1 in the first match of Group C Play at the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring with a penalty kick to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. But it was all Saudi Arabia from there, snapping Argentina’s 36-match unbeaten streak over all competitions.

In a quick scoring spurt, Saleh Al-Shehri bumped a low shot into the net in the 48th minute. Salem Al-Dawsari angled in a second goal, deflected by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, from the penalty area in the 53rd minute.

Argentina had a chance to work at least a draw and held possession for much of the match, but near-misses told the story instead. Nicolas Tagliafico might have had Argentina’s best angle at a second goal only to be denied by a brilliant save from Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais.

—Denmark 0, Tunisia 0

A scoreless draw between Denmark and Tunisia opened Group D play on Tuesday in Qatar.

In the return to international competition for Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, the European Championship semifinalists were unable to score in six shots on goal. Eriksen had one of the shots, a long-range missile in the second half, in his anticipated showing, the first since he went into cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel made a miraculous save before the half to keep Tunisia scoreless.

There was only one scoreless draw in the 2018 World Cup.

Denmark’s best scoring opportunity from point-blank range was stymied by Tunisia goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen, who also swatted away Eriksen’s shot.

—Mexico 0, Poland 0

Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa saved a scoreless game with a miraculous save in the 58th minute on Tuesday in a 0-0 draw with Poland.

Mexico dominated the Group C opener in time of possession and kept Poland away from legitimate scoring chances throughout the match.

The result spares Argentina, the only team in the group with an opening loss, after a stunning loss to Saudi Arabia.

Alexis Vega had two of Mexico’s best scoring chances but was denied on crosses. Ochoa’s save on Robert Lewandowski’s penalty try brought the boisterous pro-Mexico crowd to roaring decibels.

—France 4, Australia 1

Olivier Giroud scored a pair of goals to move into a tie for first on France’s all-time scoring list as the defending World Cup champions overcame an early deficit to defeat Australia 4-1 in Group D action.

Giroud scored in the 32nd and 71st minutes and now has 51 goals for the French national team, making him the leading goal scorer in team history along with Thierry Henry, who played from 1997-2010.

Australia took a surprising lead early in the match, as Craig Goodwin struck in the ninth minute. Adrien Rabiot quickly leveled the contest, scoring 18 minutes later to open the floodgates.

The French took a 2-1 lead on Giroud’s first goal, and Kylian Mbappe then scored in the 68th minute to essentially seal the victory. Giroud then found the back of the net with his milestone tally, allowing France to sit atop of its group, just ahead of Denmark and Tunisia.

France defender Lucas Hernandez is out for the World Cup after rupturing his ACL.

—Field Level Media