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2022 FIFA World Cup

Ratings: An inspired Saudi Arabia condemns Argentina to a 2-1 defeat

Published at :November 22, 2022 at 11:49 PM
Modified at :November 24, 2022 at 1:11 AM
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rajarshi shukla

This result will go down as the first upset of the FIFA World Cup 2022

It took seconds for Argentina to show the ruthlessness of their forwards when the referee blew starting whistle as Messi first shot on target was parried away by Alowais. But a Var check amid a freekick showed Paredes was manhandled in the box, and Argentina were rewarded a penalty with Messi stepping up and ice running through his veins as he placed the ball in the bottom corner.

Saudi Arabia came out in the second half as a completely different team, displaying their true potential with a slipping goal from Shehri and an incredible curler from Al Dawsari.

Argentina's attack continued, but a staunch defence from Saudi Arabia prevented the opponents from scoring a goal, ending Argentina's 36-game unbeaten streak.

Argentina player ratings

GK: Emiliano Martinez – 5/10

Did not have much work to do but a second-half turned out to be a horror show for the goalkeeper as he conceded two goals in no time.

RB: Nahuel Molina – 6/10

He was forceful in the first and made one key pass, but fell out of sync and was unable to create any danger with his deep runs behind defenders.  

CB: Cristian Romero – 5/10

He was completely overwhelmed by Shehri in the individual battle, allowing him to score their first goal, and he also lost possession in the buil-up.

CB: Nicolas Otamendi – 7/10

Despite going down two goals, Otamendi did not lose his cool and remained tight at the back; he made two interceptions and three clearances.

LB: Nicolas Tagliafico – 6/10

Tagliafico was aggressive in the first half and made two ball recoveries, but he appeared fatigued in the second half and couldn't contribute to the build-up.

AM: Alejandro Gomez – 6/10

Gomez played at an odd position, but he performed admirably despite being unable to change the game and was replaced in the second half.

CM: Leandro Paredes – 7/10

Remained at the back, controlled the midfield well, and made one key pass, he crumbled under pressure from opponents, and Saudi Arabia turned the game on its head.

LM: Rodrigo de Paul – 5/10

De Paul was arguably the worst on the pitch with just 75% pass succession rate and failed to link-up play with Paredes and Gomez. He lacked his offensive play and was dominated by Saudi midfielders.

LF: Angel di Maria – 6/10

Di Maria was reasonable on the right flank and created two key passes, took on defenders twice but was unable to link up and couldn't timed his run against high defensive-line Saudi Arabia.

CM: Lautaro Martinez – 6/10

Martinez should have timed his run as he was called offside twice while his finishing was clinical. He could have had two goals to his name; defensively he tracked back and helped the team defend. He was really slow in the second-half and was overpowered many times.

RF: Lionel Messi – 8/10

Ended the first game of the World Cup with a goal. But things turned out worse for Messi, and he couldn't influence the game with his signature defence piercing passes and was kept quiet by defenders.


Lesandro Martinez – 7/10

Always plays his heart out; Martinez made one important clearance and demonstrated his cool composure and should play the next match.

Julian Alvarez – 6/10

He maintained his pushing but should have been in the right place to convert the ball, as he made many late rushes in the box.

Enzo Fernandez – 7/10

The moment he came he asserted himself and completed 100% pass, and made 32 touches and was everywhere on the pitch.

Marcus Acuna – 7/10

His introduction saw him surge forward from left-back, making two important passes and completing 100% of his passes.

Saudi Arabia player ratings  

GK: Mohammed Alowais – 9/10

Alowais conceded an unpleasant penalty, but his superb save in the first few seconds of the game and point black save, and after that, Alowais looked fabulous between the stick.

RB: Saud Adbulhamid – 4/10

Adbulhamid was frequently exposed at the back and would have surrendered four goals in the first half if it hadn't been for offside. He left a massive gaping hole behind him, which Gomez pounced totally.

CB: Hassan Al Tambakti – 6/10

Tambakti stepped up in this match after a sluggish defending that resulted in Argentina capitalizing on their mistakes; he made 77% of passes in their entire match and was watertight at the back.

CB: Ali Al-Bulaihi – 5/10

Bulaihi has made the least touches in the (22) game and couldn't gather up his momentum; he was also dribble past once.

LB: Yasir Al Shahrani – 7/10 

Shahrani was top-notch for the Saudi; he made six ball recoveries and six crucial clearances.

CM: Abdulelah Al Faraj – 6/10

He couldn't keep the squad together and could not really communicate well with defenders, but two goals from Saud shifted his momentum in the game and completed 69% of the passes.

CM: Mohamed Kanno – 6/10

He had no effect on the game but completed successful passes and challenged defenders twice. Kanno organized the match's rhythm as the game progressed and made one ball recovery.

LM: Salem Al Dawsari – 8/10

Dawsari could not assert himself in the match and was outclassed by opponents. But a total change in second-half saw him curl the ball in the top-corner.

CF: Saleh Al-Shehri – 8/10

Shehri lacked end product and attempted 10 touches inside the opponent's box but failed to convert. He caused opposition problems and finally showed his killer instinct with a goal in the second half.

CF: Firas Al-Braikan – 7/10

Was a headache for the Argentina defenders. But the end product did not come from anywhere, although he remained a threat.


Nawaf Al-Abed – 6/10

Made one recovery and showed restraint when Argentina bombarded him with crosses and defense-breaking passes.

Sultan Al Ghanam – 6/10

A short cameo for the right-back, as he completed only three touches

Abdulelah Al-Amri – N/A

Asiri Haitham – N/A

Mohammed Al- Burayk – N/A