On the third day of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we were treated to some monumental moments as well as a couple of scoreless ties. Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina by a score of 2-1, shocking the South American nation despite the fact that Lionel Messi was leading the way and Argentina had the third shortest odds (+650) to win the entire competition. After falling behind by one goal in the first half, the Saudis scored two early in the second half and had their goalkeeper, Mohammed Al Yami, make several impressive saves. Igor Mello, one of our analysts, ranked it as one of the best five upsets in the history of the tournament; in my opinion, it ranks first or second.
In other news, it seems that concerns about France have been put to rest, despite the fact that some of its top players are sidelined with injuries. They gave Australia a run for their money with a prolific and energetic attacking performance.
Here is a look at the scores from the day and some key takeaways from all of the actions. While you’re here, sign up for our new newsletter covering the “beautiful game” in all its guises, including daily updates about the World Cup, by clicking on this link.
Results from Tuesday’s World Cup matches
Saudi Arabia 2, Argentina 1 Denmark 0, Tunisia 0 Mexico 0, Poland 0 France 4, Australia 1
Without their wounded stars, France appears to be in good shape.
No Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema, or N’Golo Kante? No issue. Because of injuries, none of France’s three superstar players are able to accompany them to Qatar, although their absence was hardly noticeable in the 4-1 victory over Australia. After a sluggish beginning, France looked really dang excellent, and despite the fact that their defense had a couple of rough patches, their offense was on fire and scored twice in each half.
After falling behind after only nine minutes of play, Antoine Griezmann dropped deep into the middle to get things moving, and almost immediately, the opening game turned into one in which France was free to attack whenever they pleased. In the end, Didier Deschamps’ squad had 23 shots, but only seven of them were on target.
The final result, which does not reflect well on Australia at all, could have been considerably more humiliating. Both Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud scored to tie Thierry Henry for first place in France’s all-time scoring record, but both players wasted great opportunities in front of the goal that would have ended the match in a rout.
Despite this, they were able to allay any fears regarding the champions’ curse by demonstrating exactly how capable this bunch can be. After the first three hours and thirty minutes, the solution is looking quite excellent.
It’s time for Argentina to start freaking out.
It’s possible that Messi appeared relaxed in the mixed zone after the game, but I’m here to warn you that you should be very concerned. Despite having a perfect record over the previous three years and coming off of a triumph at the Copa America, Argentina appeared uninspired. There were rumors going around that the squad was not as fit as they would have liked to be for this game, and it appeared as though those rumors were true since they performed like a completely different team from the dominant one that we had seen in recent games.
After the game, Messi addressed the media and informed them that the team “expected to get the three points that would have given us calmness.” “Things occur for the reasons that they do. We need to get ready for what is on the horizon. We have to come out on top, and our success is entirely up to us.
“There is no room for an explanation. We are going to have a closer bond with one another than ever before. We have demonstrated that this organization is a powerful one. This is a circumstance that hasn’t presented itself to us in a very long time. Now the time has come for us to demonstrate that this is an actual group.
There is no way to spin it in a positive light — The whole second half was dominated by Argentina’s opponents, who outplayed them. They fought for one another, created pressure, and occupied space in order to cause significant issues for the attacking team. Saudi Arabia played a compact defense and employed a complex offside trap.
Messi stated that despite the devastating nature of the loss, the team must continue to have faith in themselves. “We have no choice but to flip the page and continue. We need to conduct an investigation into what went wrong. Keep in mind the many positive aspects of the situation, and direct your attention to the upcoming game against Mexico.”
If Argentina loses that game against Mexico, it is possible that they may be eliminated from the tournament. Their previous manager, Tata Martino, is in charge. But for the upcoming match, you can anticipate seeing a substantial number of changes to the starting eleven. Rodrigo de Paul had a terrible effort, making multiple errors in the middle of the game; Leandro Paredes lacked any control over the game, and Nahuel Molina contributed very little to the team’s performance. It may be an opportunity to watch Alexis Mac Allister create in the attack, and players such as Angel Correa and Geronimo Rulli should be prepared for a do-or-die scenario.
Losing this game leaves Argentina with minimal room for error in the remaining stages of the competition; Saudi Arabia was the least talented team in the group.
Goalkeepers, not goal scorers, take center stage
What a day it turned out to be for those who were in goal. Meme Ochoa came up big for Mexico by saving a penalty kick from Robert Lewandowski, which allowed El Tri to secure a point in the match. And what exactly can you tell us about Mohammed Al Yami in regard to the Saudis? He made five saves, a couple of which were pretty fantastic, the best of which was the early save on Messi’s low shot. He also had a number of other good saves. Both teams were able to grind out some surprising outcomes on this day, which is something that is possible when you have a solid goalkeeper.