Saudi Arabia caused one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history
Saudi Arabia caused one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history

Saudi Arabia beat Argentina and Lionel Messi in huge World Cup shock

Saudi Arabia defied the odds to fight back from 1-0 down and beat Lionel Messi's Argentina 2-1 in their opening World Cup game to cause one of the biggest shocks in history.

The 33/1 outsiders, 53rd in the FIFA world rankings, fell behind to Messi's 10th-minute penalty, following a VAR check, and survived three disallowed goals (all for offside) to reach half-time trailing by a single goal.

Saleh Al-Shehri then struck three minutes after the break with their first shot of the match before Salem Al Dawsari fired them in front five minutes later to stun their opponents, who were the antepost second-favourites to lift the trophy.

Despite an onslaught of Argentina attacks the Saudis held firm, largely limiting the South Americans to potshots on goal thanks to an heroic defensive effort.

Victory leaves head coach Herve Renard, whose only notoriety in England prior to this came via a short spell as Cambridge manager in 2004 when they were relegated from the Football League, and his side with a huge opportunity to match the Gulf state's best World Cup performance of reaching the round of 16 at USA '94.

Argentina face a battle to stay in the tournament with tricky Group C fixtures against in Poland and Mexico to come.

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