December 6, 2022

Two-time winners arrived as one of the favourites, before their 36-match unbeaten run came to a stuttering end on their opening day in Qatar
Saudi Arabia scored one of the biggest World Cup upsets ever by beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday.
Messi’s quest to win the one major title to elude him got off to a shocking start and brought back memories of Cameroon’s 1-0 win over an Argentina team led by Diego Maradona in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup.
Goals by Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari in a five-minute span in the second half gave the Saudis their greatest win. Messi rolled in a penalty to give Argentina a 10th-minute lead.
This also rivals shocking results such as Senegal beating then-titleholder France 1-0 in the 2002 tournament opener and the United States stunning England by the same score in 1950.
Managed by former Deportivo La Coruña defender Lionel Scaloni, La Albiceleste are usually contenders at a World Cup, always with star quality in their ranks. 
Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Franco Armani (River Plate) and Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal)
Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Nicolas Tagliafico (Olympique Lyonnais), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Forwards: Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City).
Until the day he retires from international football (which for a short time in 2016 seemed to have been the case), Messi will always be the standout name in Argentina’s squad. While he didn’t enjoy the most fruitful of campaigns with new club PSG in 2021-22 – at least by his superhuman standards – he is always one of the most dangerous players at the tournament who can produce the moment of magic his country needs. 
As well as the captain, Martínez has also been weighing in with his fair share of goals in the lead-up to what will be his first ever World Cup. He has bagged 21 goals in 39 appearances since earning his first Argentina cap back in 2018 and will be hoping to build on a successful domestic season with Inter Milan in the next couple of months leading up to the tournament; Martinez scored 21 goals in 35 Serie A appearances in 2021-22. 
One of the more crucial defensive players for Argentina will be Cristian Romero. The 24-year-old made an instant impact in north London after signing for Tottenham in the summer of 2021, making 22 league appearances last season and simultaneously cementing his place as a regular in the national side. 
Argentina are in Group C along with Poland, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
Argentina have been World Cup winners on two occasions: 1978 and 1986. The latter, won in Mexico is one of the most iconic triumphs in the tournament’s history with La Albiceleste captained by Diego Maradona, who was at the height of his powers. 
In the midst of his successful seven-year spell with Napoli, he created five and scored five, including the infamous Hand of God goal and the mazy 60-yard run later voted ‘Goal of the Century’ in a 2-1 quarter-final win over England. 
They also finished runners-up in both 1990 and 2014, losing to Germany, in one form or another, in the final on both occasions.
Argentina | Australia | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico | Morocco | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Serbia | South Korea | Spain | Switzerland | Tunisia | Uruguay | USA | Wales
Think Lionel Messi will win the Golden Boot in Qatar? Find the latest top scorer odds here
Argentina are currently a best price of 17/2 to win the World Cup.
Information correct as of November 22
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