2022 World Cup

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
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Hahahaha! Lionel Messi and Co suffering maybe the biggest World Cup upset of all time, losing 2-1 to the Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia. Messi put Argentina ahead after just 10 minutes from the penalty spot but two second half goals helped Saudi Arabia to a famous victory.

As an England fan, I'm not too upset about Argentina losing.

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Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
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Saudi Arabia deliver 'seismic' shock, but don't count Argentina out

Group C

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

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It will go down as one of the World Cup's biggest shocks.

All the pre-match talk was about how this could finally be Lionel Messi's year, how Argentina could be crowned world champions for the first time since 1986, how Saudi Arabia had no chance.

What a difference 90 minutes make.

As a heroic Saudi side celebrated their stunning 2-1 win with their jubilant fans in a deafening Lusail Stadium, Argentina's disbelieving players crept off with their supporters shocked into almost total silence.

There was no sign of this result at half-time. Messi had slotted Argentina ahead from the penalty spot, three other efforts had been ruled out for offside and Saudi Arabia looked to be settling for damage limitation.

Then two Saudi goals in six crazy minutes early in the second half entirely changed the narrative and, despite plenty of prodding and probing from Messi and co, the underdogs valiantly held on to a result that will never be forgotten by the thousands of fans fortunate enough to witness it.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has even announced a public holiday on Wednesday in the wake of the win.

While their party spilled on to the streets of Lusail, how seismic was this result and what damage has it done to what is surely Messi's last stab at World Cup glory?

"It's a very heavy blow, a defeat that hurts, but we must continue to have confidence in ourselves," said Messi. "This group is not going to give up. We will try to beat Mexico.

"This is the time to stick together, to turn the page and not think about what happened. We always said we were going to (try to) win every game and now more than ever."

Ranked 51st in the world, Saudi Arabia had previously won three World Cup games, with the only time they progressed to the knockout stages coming in 1994.

Argentina, on the other hand, are ranked third in the world, came into the tournament on the back of a 36-match unbeaten run and were tipped by many to lift the trophy.

Northern Ireland's 1-0 win against Spain in 1982, England's loss to the United States in 1950, South Korea beating Italy in 2002 and Argentina losing to Cameroon in the 1990 opener are some of the past shocks remembered by many.

But this result will forever be mentioned in the same breath, with a hoarse Saudi fan describing the win on his way out as "our country's best ever footballing moment by such a long way". BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Mark Chapman described it as "seismic".

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, who wrote Messi the Biography, told BBC Sport: "This is what happens when you mix organisation and a sharp physique in this World Cup halfway through a season where everyone is at the top of their game or at least fresher than in a summer tournament.

"It is always easier to defend than to attack; everyone can run for hours. There has not been time to find offensive collective ways - the most complicated thing in football - but there has been enough to have a tight organised defence.

"We witnessed one of the biggest upsets in a World Cup, but I feel, for the reasons I have given above, not the last one. That is what makes the England result and performance even more impressive."

 

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
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Denmark held by vibrant Tunsia in goalless opener

Group D

Denmark 0-0 Tunisia

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Denmark were held to a draw by Tunisia in their World Cup opener in a raucous atmosphere at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

Despite fielding many Premier League regulars, the much-fancied Danes were given a tough workout in Group D.

Christian Eriksen, appearing for Denmark having suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening game of Euro 2020 only last summer, was mostly well shackled, although he did draw a fine save from Aymen Dahmen in the second half.

Both sides had goals ruled out for offside, while Denmark's Andreas Cornelius somehow missed from a yard.

There was 95th-minute drama when referee Cesar Ramos checked the pitchside monitor over a potential Denmark penalty for handball, only to stick with his original decision.

One of the pre-tournament favourites, Denmark will need to find some form if they are to qualify from a tricky-looking group.

 

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
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Lewandowski's World Cup pain continues

Group C

Mexico 0-0 Poland

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Robert Lewandowski had a penalty saved as Poland and Mexico played out a goalless World Cup draw at a fervent Stadium 974.

Captain Lewandowski has never scored in the tournament and his wait continues after a tame effort was kept out by Mexico's veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

The 40,000-capacity venue was filled largely by raucous Mexico supporters and deafening cheers rung round when Lewandowski's shot stayed out.

A forgettable first half saw Alexis Vega head narrowly wide and the only effort on target came when Jorge Sanchez's shot from the angle was pushed away by Wojciech Szczesny.

Hirving Lozano's curling effort from range was straight at the Poland goalkeeper, before the game finally sparked into life in the second half.

But both sides had to settle for a draw after Ochoa, 37, dived the right way to keep out Barcelona striker Lewandowski's penalty, awarded after the referee watched a replay on the pitchside monitor.

Earlier in the day in Group C, Saudi Arabia caused one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history by coming from behind to beat heavily fancied Argentina.

 

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
1,465
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Champions France come from behind to convincingly beat the Socceroos

Group D

France 4-1 Australia

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Defending champions France delivered a powerful statement of intent by outclassing Australia as Olivier Giroud equalled Thierry Henry's all-time scoring record for the national team.

France have lost a host of players in the build-up to the tournament, including key striker Karim Benzema, but made light of those setbacks with a thrilling attacking display after going behind.

Craig Goodwin gave the Socceroos a shock early lead when he powered home a far-post finish after nine minutes but they then fell victim to France's firepower led by veteran Giroud and Kylian Mbappe.

Adrien Rabiot's header put France level after 27 minutes then he set up Giroud - standing in for Ballon d'Or winner Benzema who sustained thigh injury in training - for a simple finish five minutes later following a brilliant Mbappe backheel.

Mbappe was a threat throughout and got his first goal of this World Cup when he headed in Ousmane Dembele's cross after 68 minutes before turning creator three minutes later.

He delivered the perfect cross for Giroud to score with a header, equalling Henry's record of 51 France goals in the process.

 

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
1,465
113
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, who wrote Messi the Biography, told BBC Sport: "This is what happens when you mix organisation and a sharp physique in this World Cup halfway through a season where everyone is at the top of their game or at least fresher than in a summer tournament.

"It is always easier to defend than to attack; everyone can run for hours. There has not been time to find offensive collective ways - the most complicated thing in football - but there has been enough to have a tight organised defence.

"We witnessed one of the biggest upsets in a World Cup, but I feel, for the reasons I have given above, not the last one. That is what makes the England result and performance even more impressive."

It's this reason - that it's the first ever winter World Cup (in the Northern Hemisphere) and comes just a few months into the Premier League season when England's players are still fresh rather than in July after a Premier League season when the players are exhausted - why England are going to be very dangerous in this tournament, as we saw in that classy 6-2 demolition of Iran.

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Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
1,465
113
Standings

Group C

Saudi Arabia - 3
Poland - 1
Mexico - 1
Argentina - 0


Group D

France - 3
Tunisia - 1
Denmark - 1
Australia - 0


Tomorrow:

Group F

Morocco Vs Croatia (10:00 UK time)

Group E

Germany Vs Japan (13:00)

Group E

Spain Vs Costa Rica (16:00)

Group F

Belgium Vs Canada (19:00)
 

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
1,465
113
Nasty bastards prolly kick it off.

Mexico's keeper gets bragging rights for stopping a Lewandowski PK.

The supervisor on our 12-8 shift at work - Robert Trojanek - is Polish (he's basically our boss even though he's not the highest rank at Ultra Finishing). Instead of keeping an eye on us - especially us dastardly order pickers - to make sure we were working and not loitering and chatting he was just walking up and down the aisles watching the game on his phone. I saw him do this several times as I'm picking on man-up truck. So he wasn't working! So we ribbed him afterwards and he jokingly told us he's going to give us ROCs - a bit like yellow cards - tomorrow (well, I think he was joking). If he isn't then he doesn't understand British humour and banter.

My Brazilian friend Luciana enjoyed Argentina losing.
 

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
1,465
113
England fans in other countries = drunken psychos chucking chairs at Germans and glassing Argies in the face

England fans in Qatar with no beer = polite gentlemen giving a lovely interview to GB News

They even get friendly with a fan of... Wales

I don't like it

 
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Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
1,465
113
At the BBC today, things got heated as they do when football is underway in this country.

Graham Souness says that Argentina's penalty against Saudi Arabia - which Messi scored - should have been a penalty, whereas Roy Keane says it was never a penalty.

I expected Keane to headbutt the shit out of Souness...

 

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
1,465
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I do think Keane was right. That was never a penalty for Argentina. It looks as though the Argie dragged down the Saudi but won himself a penalty.

This is from the same dirty cheating nation which produced Maradona's famous "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup: trying to portray God as a cheat.
 

Blackleaf

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
47,141
1,465
113
It's the World Cup, it's nearly Christmas.

Combine the two and you get a World Cup song to the tune of a British Christmas pop classic by Slade...

 
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