Saudi Arabia Stuns Lionel Messi and Argentina in World Cup’s First Shock

LUSAIL, Qatar — This isn’t the way it was presupposed to be, however that is the way it at all times appears to finish. That stoop of the shoulders, that distant stare, that mournful grimace. Argentina got here to this World Cup to enshrine Lionel Messi’s legacy in gold. It’ll keep in mind it, for a while, for one of many biggest humiliations in its historical past.

A group that had traveled to Qatar on the again of 35 video games with out defeat, the glow of its first worldwide honor in a era contemporary within the reminiscence, with arguably the best participant of all time in high type and surrounded by teammates of the very best caliber, opened its match with a 2-1 defeat to an opponent, Saudi Arabia, that was presupposed to be little greater than a sacrificial lamb.

The sting of the defeat — not only a defeat: a humiliation, a disgrace, a stigma being carved into Argentine pores and skin in actual time — will burn all of the extra as a result of, by the tip, it was nothing if not warranted, ample punishment for Argentina’s incapability to choose its means by the Saudi resistance, to maintain a cool head, to leverage all of its expertise and expertise to its benefit.

Saudi Arabia may need ridden its luck within the first half. For a lot of the second, it picked off an Argentina all of the sudden addled with all the outdated flaws, the outdated neuroses, haunted by the ghosts of Cameroon in 1990, frightened that this World Cup, the one which was presupposed to be totally different, could find yourself being identical to all the others.

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