Saudi Arabia Beat Argentina in One of the Biggest World Cup Upsets in History
Charlotte Wilson/Getty. Pictured: Abdulellah Al-Malki.
In a victory that can legitimately be considered as one of the biggest single-game upsets in the history of the sport, Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina on Tuesday 2-1 as the underdogs handed the Argentines their first loss since 2019.
Saudi Arabia closed around +2200 on the moneyline, while Argentina were -900, and a draw was +750.
In the first half, it appeared that Argentina were well on their way to cruising into an expected victory as Lionel Messi slotted a penalty home, and the side maintained a clear edge over the underdogs.
However, despite not having a single shot in the first half, Saudi Arabia came out on fire in the second.
Saleh Al Shehri tucked home a goal with their first shot of the match, and Salem Al-Dawsari released a cracker to put Saudi Arabia ahead in the span of five minutes.
🔥😱👏 The historic winner for Saudi Arabia from Salem Al Dawsari.
What an incredible goal! pic.twitter.com/sKugkstsbS
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) November 22, 2022
Saudi Arabia have qualified for the World Cup on four occasions since 1998, but across 12 matches they only won a single game – against Egypt at the end of the 2018 group stage.
On the other hand, Argentina hadn't lost since 2019 and were regarded as one of the tournament favorites heading into the event.
In the game, Saudi Arabia created just 0.14 Expected Goals (xG) per fotmob.com while Argentina created 2.23, highlighting just how improbable the win was.
Prior massive World Cup upsets include the United States over England in 1950, when the Stars and Stripes were around +1100 to win, as well as Switzerland over Spain in 2010. The Swiss were +1000 in that group stage match.
It's possible that the biggest upset in World Cup history was just completed.
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