Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up
NBCSports Header Logo

Saudi Arabia comeback stuns Argentina after Messi scores early

Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards and Nicholas Mendola try to make sense of Saudi Arabia's stunning opening upset of Argentina and what it means for both sides going forward at the World Cup.

What began with a Lionel Messi goal ended as one of the biggest group stage upsets in World Cup history, as Saudi Arabia struck twice in the second half to beat Argentina 2-1 in Lusail on Tuesday.

Messi converted a penalty and Argentina looked set to roll its unbeaten streak to 37 games. But Lautaro Martinez’s goal was pulled back for a razor-thin offside and the game hit halftime at 1-0.


Saudi coach Herve Renard then got two very nice goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari In a four-minute span early in the second half.

Argentina out-attempted the Saudis 15-3 and held a 2.23-0.14 expected goals advantage but all that matters very little as Poland and Mexico will both feel a chance to win the group.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Argentina vs Saudi Arabia.

Lionel Messi goal video: World’s best converts penalty

Saleh Al-Shehri goal video: Saudis go level

Salem Al-Dawsari goal video: 2-1!

How to watch Argentina vs Saudi Arabia live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 5am ET, Tuesday
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Key storylines, players to watch closely

Can Saudi Arabia slow Messi, let alone Lautaro Martinez, Paulo Dybala, et cetera, et cetera?

Will this be the blast-off for the international careers of Alexis Mac Allister or Julian Alvarez?

And can a Saudi player catch the eye of the international community and even draw the player away from the nation’s domestic league?

Argentina quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup appearances: 17
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (2nd place)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez

Saudi Arabia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 51
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group B)
Coach: Herve Renard
Key players: Salem Al-Dawsari, Fahad Al-Muwallad, Mohammed Al-Owais

Follow @NicholasMendola