LIVE Fifa World Cup: Saudi Arabia fight back to stun Argentina – reaction

Live Reporting

Gary Rose


Biggest-ever upset, according to data analysts

Today’s 2-1 win for Saudi Arabia against Argentina is the biggest World Cup shock ever according to analysis by Nielsen’s Gracenote.

Prior to World Cup 2022, the most surprising World Cup win ever according to Gracenote was USA’s victory over England in 1950 with a 9.5% chance of victory for the US team but Saudi Arabia’s chance of victory today was estimated at 8.7% so takes over at number one.

‘A result that will go down in history’

FT: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

New York Times journalist Tariq Panja on BBC Radio 5 Live: “The fans are going mental. This result will go down in the history of Saudi Arabia and then some. I’ve just spoke to one and asked what will this result mean for these players and he said “they will get everything”. That means quite a lot when you’re talking about Saudi Arabia.

“The Saudis are the nearest country to the World Cup and a lot just drive over. It was three hours for one fan, 90 minutes for another fan. They’ve got a really big football culture, I don’t think we realise that in Europe. The fandom is certainly there and it was there in full effect today. They completely drowned out the Argentina fans.”

‘Argentina looked like the shambolic sides of old’

FT: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

Tim Vickery

BBC Sport South American football expert on BBC Radio 5 Live

People would have needed to get up early for this game in Argentina, around 7am. What a cruel thing to do to them over breakfast.

I quite liked the first half of Saudi Arabia. Argentina’s biggest fear happened because they weren’t able to dominate the ball in midfield and have their circuit of passes. The high line of Saudi was risky but it gave them the platform to create problems.

Argentina’s defensive stats have been brilliant but there were times in the first half where they were defending at full stretch. Romero was the weak link today.

They lose their structure when they went behind. They looked like more of the shambolic Argentina sides of old where Lionel Messi was dropping deep to get the ball.

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