FIFA World Cup 2022
Argentina begins mission engaging with Saudi Arabia today
FIFA's ranked 3rd Argentina is set to begin its World Cup 2022 mission taking on 51st ranked Saudi Arabia today (Monday) at 4:00 pm at 80,000-capacity Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar.
Although Argentina and Saudi Arabia have never met at this stage of a World Cup before, the Albiceleste boast a record of two wins and two draws from their previous four clashes with the Asian nation, most recently being held to a goalless stalemate in a friendly against Saudi Arabia in November 2012.
Lionel Messi's Argentina is, obviously, the favourite team in the match today. La Albiceleste have two World Cup trophies in their cabinet from 1978 and 1986, while Saudi Arabia are aiming to make waves in a difficult group and avoid an expected fourth-placed finish.
Besides, Argentina was runner-up three times, in 1930, 1990 and 2014 World Cup. The team had also won the Copa América 15 times, the highest amount, tied with Uruguay. Moreover, Argentina has also won the Confederations Cup and the gold medal at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic football tournaments. Prior to that, Argentina won two silver medals in the 1928 and 1996 editions.
Since losing 2-0 to Brazil in the 2019 Copa America, Argentina have embarked on an astonishing 36-game unbeaten run across all competitions, qualifying for the 2022 World Cup without losing a game and winning each of their last five in all tournaments.
Being eliminated from the last-16 with only one win in the entire tournament was a bitter disappointment for Argentina in 2018.
The Saudis are, on the other hand, considered one of Asia's most successful national teams. Saudi Arabia has won the AFC Asian Cup three times (1984, 1988 and 1996). They had played the FIFA World Cup five times, in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2018, yet failed to advance from the group stage.
This World Cup may very well prove to be Lionel Messi's swansong in the tournament, and, thus, this is the last chance for the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner to guide his nation to another trophy, and there is every reason to believe that this year could be Argentina's year. However, the time will say the truth.
There are three more matches today. Denmark will meet Tunisia at 7:00 pm, Mexico will face Poland at 10:00 pm and France will engage with Australia at 01:00 am after midnight.