Argentina’s FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign gets off against Saudi Arabia on November 22 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. The Latin American country won the coveted title in 1978 and 1986, and Lionel Messi will aim to repeat the feat in what is unquestionably his final dance on the world stage. After winning the Copa America in 2021, Argentina had gone 36 games without a loss. They have picked up five victories in a row while scoring 16 goals and keeping five clean sheets.
Messi has addressed the widely asked issue about his alleged ailment before Argentina’s tournament opener against Saudi Arabia. Messi responded to comments made by the media during the customary pre-game press conference regarding suggestions that his fitness was in question given that he had reportedly missed training in Qatar. Messi stated he would be prepared to lead Lionel Scaloni’s team against Saudi Arabia and refuted allegations that he had an ankle ailment.
Arabia will aim to at least replicate their 1994 World Cup result, when they failed to advance past the group stage and were eliminated in the round of 16. The Albiceleste will put them to the test because they have only won two of their past 10 games overall.
Since losing 2-0 to Brazil in the 2019 Copa America, Argentina has gone on an astonishing 36-game unbeaten streak across all competitions. They have won each of their last five games combined and have qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 without losing a game during this time. Argentina’s relegation from the last 16 in 2018 with just one win to their name was a devastating disappointment since they lost to Germany in the final in 2014, which they also lost to. Since this tournament is reportedly Messi’s final one, his supporters would like to see a significantly stronger showing from the Argentine team.
The Green Falcons, who had the honour of playing Russia in the opening match of the 2018 World Cup, lost dreadfully 5-0, and they will likely be expecting a similar result against a desperate Argentina. Saudi Arabia is unfortunate to begin 2022 with what could end up being the most challenging of all the opening games after losing four of its opening five World Cup games.
Argentina and Saudi Arabia have never faced off in the World Cup finals, but in their four prior meetings, the South American team has a record of two victories and two draws, most recently being held to a scoreless tie in a 2012 friendly.
Lionel Messi will surely be the player to watch, as he is in every game in which he participates, with Angel Di Maria on the other side of the assault. The absence of the team’s best players Leandro Paredes and Nicolas Otamendi from the outdoor training camp at Qatar University is expected to have a big impact. To stop the Argentine attack, Saudi Arabia will heavily rely on left back Yasser Al-Shahrani and centre back Abdulelah Al-Amri. They are hoping that forward Firas Al-Buraikan would score soon.
Date, Time, and Place
The Saudi Arabia vs. Argentina game will take place on November 22 at 3:30. (India time).